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Various publications in Kailali suspend operations following renewed violence against journalists by Maoist activists

(FNJ/IFEX) - Newspapers of Kailali, a far western region of Nepal, suspended operations indefinitely on 29 May 2008, accusing the state of failing to ensure the safety of journalists and other media workers.

In a press release, the FNJ's Kailali chapter stated that, due to security concerns, a group of 12 editors and publishers of the district suspended their publications, saying that they were not in a position to continue their work as the state was failing to ensure the safety of media employees.

The press release also says that Maoist Constituent Assembly (CA) candidate Ram Samajh Rana, cadre Fulram Chaudhari and their group attacked journalists in front of the Chief District Officer (CDO), Chhetra Bahadur Bhandari, and the superintendent of police, Surendra KC, while they were sitting at the District Administration Office (DAO).

That attack come of the wake of two other incidents in the Kailali district. Journalist Hemanta Paudel was threatened on 27 May, and journalist Lucky Chaudhari was assaulted on 28 May, for publishing news reports about incidents involving Maoists which had occurred at the Beheda Temple and Mahadev Pond.

Due to these threats, journalists approached the DAO to ask for protection.

However, Rana and Fulram Chaudhari called upon villagers to gather and attack the journalists again. They were entering DAO by force, upon which DAO security officers opened fire to control the violence. Three people were killed in the clash. Lucky Chaudhari has had to stop working at his workplace.

FNJ denounces the incident saying that it is shameful that journalists are being attacked by top local leaders of a political party who should be committed to protecting journalists and press freedom.

For further information on the Paudel and Chaudhari cases, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/94080

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