News report about lawmaker elicits threats for journalists in Nepal08 Jun, 2018
Student leaders from the ruling party harassed and threatened journalists of online news portal hamrakura.com in Kathmandu, Nepal over a news report about a Member of Parliament (MP) and the chairperson of the students union on June 6.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Federation of Nepali Journalists (IFJ) and the Nepal Press Union (NPU) in condemning the threats to and harassment of journalists of an online news portal by student leaders in Nepal. The IFJ demands an investigation into the incident and safety of the journalists.
Seven people led by Bhupendra Shahi, the central committee member of the All Nepal National Free Students’ Union (ANNFSU), entered the office of hamrakura.com on the evening of June 6 and demanded the removal of the news related to MP and ANNFSU chairperson Nabina Lama. They stayed at the media office for more than half an hour, harassing executive editor Madhav Prasad Chamlagain and other journalists.
MP Lama had earlier called chief editor and NPU general secretary Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti demanding to remove the news about her addressed a citizen using bad language, when asked a critical question on Facebook messenger. The portal updated the news with Lama’s rebuttal and also published her rebuttal as a separate news, but she was adamant that the portal remove the news and threatened Shiwakoti with using cyber law to jail him.
NPU chairperson Badri Sigdel, in a statement, said: “The NPU condemns the threat of jailing a journalist by a sitting MP, and harassment to journalists in the newsroom, even after the portal published the rebuttal. To pressure and threaten journalists over published material is a condemnable act and a violation of press freedom.”
FNJ General Secretary Ramesh Bista said: “The FNJ condemns the act of harassment and threats by a person in a responsible position of MP and demands that the concerned authorities to probe the incidents to bring it in legal prosecution and ensure safety of journalists and media.”
The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the harassment and threat to editors and journalists of hamrakura.com in Kathmandu, Nepal by cadres of the ruling political party. It is concerning that a lawmaker is violating the rights of journalists and norms of press freedom. The IFJ urges the Nepal government to investigate the incident and ensure safety to journalists.”