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Young Communist League members threaten TV journalist in Manthali, seize newspapers and printing equipment in Chautara

(FNJ/IFEX) - Nabaraj Pathik, district correspondent for Nepal One television station, was threatened by members of the Young Communist League (YCL), allied to the Communist Party of Nepal - Maoist (CPN-M), on 7 April 2008 in Manthali, the district headquarters of Ramechhap, an eastern region of Nepal.

According to Teeka Bhatta, president of the FNJ's Ramechhap chapter and FNJ's media monitor for the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections, YCL cadres threatened Pathik in response to news broadcast on Nepal One about YCL cadres attacking an election employee, Pahalman Karki, in Sunarpani, Ramechhap district. The YCL members threatened him, saying that he was working against them and asking him not to repeat such reporting in the future, reported Bhatta.

FNJ condemns the attack and urges the group in question to be respectful of press freedom and freedom of expression and not to violate the public's right to information. FNJ also urges the government to punish the perpetrators and to take more seriously the task of providing sufficient security to media personnel during the CA elections.

Meanwhile, "Sindhu Prabaha" weekly, published in Sindhupalchowk, was seized by YCL members on 7 April in Chautara, the district headquarters of Sindhupalchowk, which neighbours Kathmandu.

According to Pabitra Kumar Khadka, president of FNJ's Sindhupalchowk chapter, YCL cadres entered the weekly's printing facility and looted 25 volumes of the publication and the printing plates.

FNJ condemns the incident and expresses its serious concern over the increased number of media attacks in the run-up to the election. It urged the government and local authorities to cultivate an environment in which journalists and the media are able to report on all aspects of the election without fear.

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