HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
ITHARI: A spate of attacks on mediapersons of late and the administration turning a blind eye has taken journalists by surprise.
Eastern region Coordinator of Federation of Nepali Journalists, Mohankaji Neupane, said over a dozen cases of abuse and attack on mediapersons in Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari have been reported during recent bandhs. “But we are surprised that the police and local administration have maintained silence,” said Neupane. “We are afraid whether the wave of attacks on media is aimed at terrorising the press.”
Reports of agitators intercepting and vandalising press vehicles and torching newspapers in Jhapa, Saptari and Siraha have also become headlines of late. Yesterday, bandh enforcers had seized and torched copies of different national dailies, including The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post at Lahan of Siraha. Agitators today as well seized copies of Annapurna Post and other two national dailies before setting them on fire at Bharadaha of Saptari. The agitators accused the dailies of not carrying news related to them.
According to drivers of the vehicles ferrying the papers to Janakpur, the agitators have warned that they would torch the vehicles if the newspapers failed to carry their news along with pictures on the front page of Saturday’s issue.
“Police played the role of mute spectators when the newspapers were torched,” the journalists said. A few days ago, agitators had vandalised a vehicle carrying Annapurna post in front of police in Kerkha of Jhapa.
DIG Surendra Bahaur Shah refuted the charge against police. “We are always committed to providing security to press and journalists,” said Shah. We are ready to make arrangements to escort vehicles carrying newspapers if needed.”
In view increasing attack on mediapersons, FNJ Sunsari chapter today distributed press jackets to journalists.
Broader Madhesi Front says no intention to target media
Rajbiraj: Agitating Broader Madhesi Front, an alliance led by Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Nepal that comprises Madhesi leaders of various Madhes-based parties except those in the government, today made it clear that it ‘did not intent to torch newspaper copies in Bhardaha and Rupani of Saptari. The Front added that it has launched a probe into the incident to figure out who were involved in torching newspapers. The Front torched copies of national dailies, including Annapurna Post and Nagarik daily this morning at Bhardaha and Rupani. It was reported yesterday as well that the Front activists were involved in setting newspapers on fire in Siraha. Speaking at an interaction organised by Saptari chapter of Revolutionary Journalists Associations, Maoist leader Debnath Yadav said the alliance has neither torched newspaper copies nor wishes to do so. Yadav is close to the Mohan Baidhya faction of the Unified CPN-Maoist. The programme was organised in memory of Krishna Sen Icchuk, a journalist affiliated to Revolutionary Journalists Associations who was killed a few years back. The interaction was held to discuss ‘present political situation and security of mediapersons’. “A probe has been launched to find out the truth. The perpetrators will be brought to book,” said Yadav. Baijanath Jha who says he has been fighting for press freedom for long added that the attack on media on broad daylight could be blamed on government’s apathy towards safety of media and mediapersons. Jha urged the government to provide security to mediapersons. Dhirendra Prasad Shah, Chairman of the Saptari chapter of Federation of Nepali Journalists advised journalists to work honestly and urged concerned stakeholders to take security of mediapersons seriously.Representatives of various media organisations, including the Press Union and Press Chautari, expressed aired their views. —