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Political leader, local development staff attack reporter in Nepal

This statement was originally published on nepalpressfreedom.org on 15 September 2016.

A reporter with News 24 TV, onlinekhabar news portal and Arthik Abhiyan daily from Dhanusha district, located southeast of the capital Kathmandu, was attacked over a news story he published in the Arthik Abhiyan daily on 14 September 2016.

The reporter, Raj Kamal Singh, was attacked over his report on the misuse of the budget in the District Development Committee (DDC) and Constituency Development Fund.

A group of seven persons, led by Nepali Congress party president for the Dhanusha Constituency-1, Nawin Gohiwar, attacked Singh, saying the news earned disrepute to Gohiwar's political image.

Speaking to the Media Monitoring Desk of Freedom Forum, Singh said: "Early in the morning while I was in a teashop at local Bhanuchowk of Janakpurdham, I received a call from Nawin Gohiwar, asking to meet him to talk about some issues. But, within a minute of the phone talk, a group of seven people including Nawin Gohiwar, and some staff from DDC attacked me and attempted to abduct me. Their intention was to abduct and release [me after] torture. They attacked me with their fists. I received a serious injury to the back of my head and had to get treatment."

Attackers arrested

After an hour, the district police arrested five of the attackers, Nawin Gohiwar, Rajdevi Gohiwar, Pushpendra Goit, Sanjiv Kumar Mandal and Santosh Yadav.

The incident shows how hostile and harsh the political leaders and bureaucracy are towards the media. They are so secretive and tend to always hide information from the public and from media persons.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns the incident as it has violated press freedom and the rights of reporters exposing administrative and financial irregularities. The political leaders and cadres must improve their behavior and change their perspective towards the media. Meanwhile, the immediate arrest by the police is laudable. Stringent action must be taken in a bid to reduce impunity relating to press freedom.

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