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Journalist Chakka Bahadur Malla arrested in west Nepal

This statement was originally published on on 24 July 2017.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and the Nepal Press Union (NPU) in condemning the arrest of a journalist in Bajura, west Nepal on July 20, 2017. The IFJ demands the immediate release of the journalist and a fair investigation into the incident.

Chakka Bahadur Malla, district correspondent for Image Channel TV, was arrested and was taken into custody by the police. He was in the process of registering a case with the police after he was attacked along with four municipal officials of the Budinanda Municipality on July 13. A gang attacked them near the district headquarters. Malla had received injuries and was recovering when he was arrested after a police complaint was registered against him.

NPU general secretary, Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti, in the statement said: "The arrest is a mockery of the rule of law and is an attempt to create fear among journalists and rights activists. The NPU demands the immediate withdrawal of the false case against Malla and a judicial investigation into the issue to punish those responsible for the attack and false accusation of Malla."

The FNJ has dispatched a three-member team led by Executive Committee member Prakash Bikram Shah to Bajura to probe the issue.

The IFJ said: "The IFJ is seriously concerned over the arrest of an injured journalist. The arrest of the journalist without a strong case weakens press freedom. The IFJ urges the Nepal government to immediately release journalist Chakka Bahadur Malla and thoroughly investigate the attack on him, as well as what appears to be a false complaint against him."

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