Security sector institutions assure for safety of journalists
The officials of the district level security agencies from the Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force have pledged that they would not leave any stone unturned regarding the physical safety of the working journalists.
During the two separate dialogue sessions organized by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu in association with the Madheshi Journalists Association and the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) district chapters on the role of free expression in democracy and the responsibility of police in protecting journalists, the security officials also promised that they were ready for the round of clock to protect the professional and physical rights of the journalists.
The interaction programs were organized under UNESCO/UNPFN project ‘Increasing the Safety of Journalists’ from June 10 to 12, 2014 at Myanglung Bazaar, headquarters of Terhathum district and at Gaighat of Udayapur district to enhance knowledge of the security personnel on their role in protecting journalists.
The interaction program held at Terhathum on June 10 was attended by 25 security personnel and 10 journalists from Terhathum and the two neighboring districts – Dhankuta and Sankhuwasabha while the program organized at Gaighat of Udayapur was participated by the same number of the security personnel and 12 journalists from the very district.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the Terhathum program, Chief at the Dhanakutta District Police Office, SP Ishwori Prasad Chapagain said that the security forces were more alert on providing security facilities to the journalists. Chapagain also promised that they would extend special security following the concerned journalists whose safety was under threat from any unlawful persons or groups.
Chief District Officer of Terhathum district Umesh Kumar Dhakal expressed his commitment to guarantee the protection of the journalists. Stating that the security situation of the journalists was deteriorating during the decade-long conflict, Dhakal expressed happiness over the improving situation of the law and order.
Police Chief at the Udayapur District Police Office SP Ajay Bhattarai said that although the media sector was considered as the fourth estate of the nation, it was more important for him. Speaking at the Udayapur program, SP Bhattarai maintained that the Udaypur district did not witness even a single incident related to the physical insecurity of the journalists.
Acting Chief District Officer of Udayapur district Prakash Jung Karki stated that his office was committed protecting the professional and physical rights of the journalists as guaranteeing the physical security of any citizens involving in any occupation was the duty of the state.
Similarly, Udayapur District Judge Bhoj Raj Sharma said that the level of impunity was not decreasing as expected as the concerned stakeholders were not successful in executing the rule of law. Sharma was of the view that the degree of the security threats of the journalists would be reduced only after the situation of impunity was improved.
The dialogue programs at the both places were facilitated by former president of the FNJ, Suresh Acharya and Laxman Datt Pant, Coordinator of Safety of Journalists Project with the separate presentations each on Role of Security Sector Institutions for Protecting Journalists, and Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists respectively.
Responding to the queries raised by the participants at the working session of the both programs, former FNJ president Acharya said that the journalists were often targeted by the perpetrators as the media persons always published the evil sides of those criminals through their media outlets.
Coordinator Pant maintained that it was necessary for the government to increase the access of the journalists to the security agencies and the judiciary to protect the physical and professional rights of the journalists.
The security personnel as participants enthusiastically took part in the dialogue programs at the both places, asking several queries regarding the freedom of expression, safety of journalists and the role of security agencies in protecting journalists to the facilitators.
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