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UN Mission staff abuse journalists in Bethan; community radio station vandalised in Panchthar

(CEHURDES/IFEX) - CEHURDES - a Kathmandu-based freedom of expression monitoring group - is concerned by the reports of abuses committed against journalists in Bethan by staff of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), and by an attack on a community radio station in Panchthar.

On 4 March 2008 a group of journalists travelled to Bethan village in Ramechhap district in central Nepal to cover the news of a crash of a helicopter belonging to the UNMIN - a tragic incident in which 10 people, including seven UNMIN staff, were killed. However, the UNMIN staff present at the accident site mistreated the journalists and tried to prevent them from taking pictures. They even tried to delete pictures taken by the journalists.

CEHURDES laments this incident and urges the UNMIN to apologize and respect the rights of journalists.

CEHURDES also condemns an attack on a community radio station in eastern Nepal.

The Sumhatlung community FM radio station, located in the Panchthar district, was attacked by an unknown group on 4 March. The vandals damaged a UPS battery, a CD player, cable wires and studio equipment.

CEHURDES considers the vandalism a blatant attack on press freedom and freedom of expression and urges all concerned to respect the fundamental and universally recognized right to freedom of expression.

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