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Two newspaper editors threatened, one assaulted, in Kailali over coverage critical of Maoist party and its youth wing

(FNJ/IFEX) - One newspaper editor was assaulted and another was threatened by Maoist activists annoyed by critical coverage, in separate incidents in Kailali, in far western Nepal.

In the first incident, Hemanta Paudel, editor of the Kailali-based newspaper "Sudur Sandesh Daily", was threatened by the Maoist party-affiliated Young Communist League (YCL) on 27 May 2008.

In a press release, the FNJ's Kailali chapter said that the Maoist representative in the town of Kailali, Tikaram Sapkota, along with three or four cadres, entered Paudel's office and threatened him regarding a story published on 23 May and the editorial of 25 May. The news article was about a Maoist accepting a gift from a smuggler; the editorial was about the Maoists' illegal activities at Kailali. The YCL warned him not to publish such kinds of news in future.

The FNJ denounced the incident and asked the Maoists to exercise their right to have the newspaper publish their response to coverage they consider inaccurate, rather than attempt to limit coverage by threatening newspaper staff members.

In the second incident, on 28 May Lucky Chaudhari, editor and publisher of the Kailali-based "Hamar Pahura" daily, was also attacked by the YCL.

The FNJ Kailali chapter said that Maoist cadres Phulram Chaudari and Ram Samajh Rana assaulted Chaudhari over the news published about the YCL's illegal activities in the district. Chaudhari sustained minor injuries in the attack.

The FNJ denounced this incident as well, noting that journalists are obliged to tell the truth to the public and asking the YCL to also exercise their right of reply, rather than resorting to assaulting newspaper staff.

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