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Journalists threatened or attacked in four separate incidents in Biratnagar, Kathmandu, Panchthar and Morang

(FNJ/IFEX) - The FNJ expresses serious concerns about the various incidents of media rights violation in different parts of the country that have recently occurred.

Police mistreated and charged journalists with "lathis" - long, metal-tipped canes - in the press conference called by the owner of the Birat Nursing Home, in Biratnagar, Nepal's second largest city, after a woman died due to the negligence of its doctors on 15 June 2008.

In a separate incident the same day, journalist Mahesh Shrestha was threatened by the owner, finance director and other supporters of Unity Life insurance company due to his news article in the "Janadisa Daily" newspaper, entitled "continuation of cheating profession of Unity Life", and also because the same news was broadcast by the Nepal Television station. According to Shrestha, he was also manhandled when he went to the Unity Life office in Kathmandu to obtain information on its allegedly illegal transactions.

Similarly, on 17 June, Kamal Raj Nemwang, secretary of the Federal Limbuwan State Council (FLSC), in the Panchthar district, and FLSC party workers mistreated FNJ Panchthar chapter president Lekhnath Khatiwada, warning him not to write news. On 18 June, Khatiwada received a death threat via telephone by a man who called himself "Bhumiputra" (son of land).

Likewise, Mahendra Luintel, the editor-in-chief of the "Nirantar Weekly" newspaper, published from Morang, an eastern district of Nepal, has become another victim of a media rights violation. He was manhandled by Chhatra Dangi, owner of Pathivara X-ray on 19 June. Journalist Luintel had gone to the office of the x-ray laboratory, situated in Letang in the same district, to collect information after he heard about the illegal operation of an x-ray laboratory in which the owner himself, rather than a physician, allegedly wrote up x-ray reports.

FNJ condemns such violations of press freedom and journalists' freedom of expression. It further demands that all concerned parties allow journalists to gather news information freely and without intimidation. FNJ also insists on the investigation of the incidents, punishment for the guilty and compensation for the victims.

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