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IPI welcomes commitment to press freedom secured from Maoist party chairman, releases report on mission

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is an IPI press release:

Vienna, 9 July 2008

IPI Welcomes Strong Commitment to Press Freedom Espoused by Prachanda, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, welcomes the strong statements made in support of press freedom and journalist safety by Prachanda and other representatives of Nepal's main political parties during a recent IPI Delegation visit to the country.

During its visit to Nepal from 26 to 28 June, the IPI Delegation secured verbal commitments to the protection of press freedom, both by way of legal protection and by way of improved practices, from the political leaders with whom it met, including Prachanda, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Joint General Secretary and Spokesperson of the Nepali Congress, Arjun Narasingha KC, and Ishwar Pokharel, Spokesperson of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-UML).

"Recent developments in Nepal, and especially public comments made by Prachanda, have caused considerable concern for the future of the country's media, and so we are very encouraged by the positive signal sent by these supportive statements," commented IPI Director David Dadge. He added, "we intend to keep a close eye on developments in Nepal with the assistance of our National Committee's Press Freedom Monitoring Centre, and will revisit the country to evaluate whether the political elite has kept its promises and whether the media environment has improved."

The IPI Delegation included N. Ravi, editor of the Indian daily, The Hindu; Uta Melzer, IPI Press Freedom Manager; and IPI Nepal National Committee members Taranath Dahal, Babita Basnet, Chiranjibi Kafle and Manju Mishra.

For a more detailed report regarding the visit, as well as photographs, videos and an interview regarding the event, please visit IPI's website, at http://www.freemedia.at , as well as the website of IPI's Nepal National Committee, at http://www.ipinepal.org

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