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CEHURDES condemns torching of newspaper copies

(CEHURDES/IFEX) - The Center for Human Rights and Democratic Studies (CEHURDES) - a Kathmandu-based Press Freedom Monitoring Group - condemns the torching of copies of newspapers in the city of Birgunj, southern Nepal.

According to reports published on the eKantipur website, activists of the Hindu Yuva Sangh (HYS), a newly formed organization that demands the restoration of Hindu nation status for Nepal, torched copies of leading Nepali national dailies "Kantipur" and "Annapurna Post" in Birgunj on 18 April 2010.

They burnt the copies claiming that the newspapers had not adequately covered issues that were relevant to them. They also burnt copies of "Pratik" daily, a newspaper published from Birgunj, claiming that the daily referred to them as royalists.

A few years ago, Nepal's status changed from a Hindu Kingdom to a secular republic.

CEHURDES condemns the act of the HYS as a blatant attack against freedom of expression and press freedom.

The organization calls upon the HYS to stop harassing and/or attacking the media. It also calls upon the authorities to take stern action against the perpetrators of this act and to put an end to the culture of impunity that persists in Nepal.

CEHURDES would like to reiterate that it is the duty of the state to create an enabling environment where the independent press can carry out its duty without fear and intimidation.

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