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Newspaper's publication blocked; journalist assaulted; another receives death threat

(FNJ/IFEX) - The distributors of the daily "Nepal Samacharpatra", who are associated with the pro-Maoist Nepal Publication and Communication Labour Association, padlocked the publication and distribution office of "Nepal Samacharpatra" on 26 May 2007 in the central district of Katmandu.

According to "Nepal Samcharpatra", the distributors started the strike after making several demands on the publication group.

According to a press release from the Kamana Publications Group, the publishers of the daily take the incident seriously and are prepared to address the distributors' demands. They have requested that the distributors seek a solution through dialogue. Although the publication house wanted to hold the dialogue, the distributors blocked publication of the newspaper.

The Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) has condemned the act of blocking the newspaper's publication even when management was interested in holding talks. The federation urged the distributors to solve the problem through peaceful dialogue.

Meanwhile, Durga Sharma, a local correspondent for Nepal One Television and the daily "Nepal Samacharpatra", was beaten up by Young Communist League (YCL) cadres. The journalist had been taking photographs of an incident in which YCL cadres were beating Rastriya Pajatantra Party (RPP) activists on 27 May in Kusma, the headquarters of Parbat district.

Sharma reached the site when he heard that the YCL had interrupted the RPP 's district meeting. According to Sharma, YCL cadres struck him three or four times in the face. However, after the incident, a Maoist official, Moti P. Risal, phoned him and apologised.

The FNJ has condemned the attack. The Federation is concerned about the increasing number of attacks on journalists and has urged the government to ensure the safety and security of media workers.

In another incident, Prem Chandra Jha, a central committee member of FNJ's Rautahat chapter and chief editor of the "Terai Express", was threatened on 21 May in Rautahat district in central Nepal.

Ashit Kumar Baidhya, the principal of Prabhat Boarding School in Gaur, Rautahar threatened Jha over an article in his newspaper about the issuance of illegal citizenship papers to Baidhya. Baidhya used abusive language and threatened to take his life.

FNJ has condemned the incident and urged the government to take the necessary legal action against the perpetrator.

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