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CEHURDES condemns YCL attack on "Sindhu Prabaha" weekly, threats of future retaliation for coverage

(CEHURDES/IFEX) - CEHURDES condemns the seizure of copies of a newspaper and threats issued to the editorial team of "Sindhu Prabaha", a weekly Nepali-language newspaper, published in the Sindhupalchok district, central Nepal.

According to reports, a group of Young Communist League (YCL) members affiliated with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) forcibly entered the private premises of "Sindhu Prabaha" weekly at Chautara, the district headquarters of the Sindhupalchok district, on the night of 7 April 2008 and seized printing materials and equipment as well as printed copies. They alleged that the newspaper had "violated" the Election Code of Conduct by carrying news items related to their alleged atrocities in the run up to the Constituent Assembly polls slated for 10 April.

According to the executive editor of "Sindhu Prabaha" weekly, Dinesh Thapa, the YCL members also threatened the editorial team members and other staff of the newspaper with dire consequences if they printed anything against them. They have also warned that they will "take up the responsibility of the police" if the newspaper does not heed their warning.

CEHURDES condemns the illegal and unethical act of the YCL members to enter forcibly into the premises of "Sindhu Prabaha" newspaper, threaten the editorial and other staff members and seize copies of the newspaper. It calls upon the YCL to return all the seized copies and other materials and tender an unconditional apology to the newspaper team. It also calls upon the Maoist leadership to take action against the members of their party involved in this episode and issue clear directives to all the party members and affiliated cadres to shun such activities and respect freedom of press and freedom of expression in all circumstances.

CEHURDES also calls upon the Nepali government and local administration in Sindhupalchok to initiate action against the culprits and take the necessary measures to provide adequate security to the journalists concerned. It reiterates that it is the duty of the state to create an environment enabling the independent press to discharge its duties without fear and intimidation.

Updates the "Sindhu Prabaha" case:

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