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One journalist assaulted, another briefly abducted, by Maoists in western region

(FNJ/IFEX) - Maya Adhikari, a correspondent of Adhikhola FM, broadcasting from Parbat, and Sayapatri FM of Baglung, was abducted by cadres of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) on 5 April 2008 at Vorle VDC in Parbat, a western region of Nepal.

According to Om Prasad Ghayal, president of FNJ's Parbat chapter and FNJ's media monitor on the Constituent Assembly elections, Adhikari was abducted by the Maoist cadres for two hours, while she was on her way to cover the elections in the southern part of Parbat. Maoist cadres accused her of campaigning for the Nepali Congress (NC) party and also distributing money to local people to encourage them to vote NC.

In a separate development, Om Hamal, a news correspondent of Nepal One television station, was attacked by cadres of the CPN-Maoist at around 3:30 p.m. (local time) on 7 April at Pame in Kaski, another western region of Nepal.

According to Narayan Karki, president of FNJ's Kaski chapter, cadres attacked Hamal with sticks while he was returning after covering a mass meeting of the NC party at Pame. On the way back, Hamal encountered the Maoist cadres carrying sticks while they were campaigning door-to-door. He asked them if they were violating the election code of conduct. After ascertaining that he was coming back from the NC's mass meeting, they attacked him. Hamal suffered a minor injury to his face.

FNJ has condemned these attacks on media and urged the CPN-Maoist not to hinder press freedom and freedom of expression, and to respect the public's right to information. FNJ asks all political parties to respect the election code of conduct and to encourage all journalists and media to report fairly on the elections. It also urges the government to punish the guilty and asks it to take seriously its duty to ensure journalists' safety during the constituent assembly elections.

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