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Journalist assaulted by protestors in Kathmandu; district committee prohibits distribution of two newspapers, copies burned in Parsa

(FNJ/IFEX) - On 28 July 2008, Kishor Shrestha, an FNJ central council member and editor of the "Janaastha" weekly newspaper, was attacked by a rowdy group of protesters in Thapathali, in the capital city of Kathmandu.

The group was protesting against Vice President Paramananda Jha's decision to speak in Hindi while taking his oath of office on 23 July. Shrestha was heading to his office in Bagbazar when he was intercepted by the protesters, who vandalised his motorcycle and assaulted him even though he showed them his journalist's identity card. The journalist received injuries to his hands and legs.

FNJ condemned the attack. It urged the authorities to ensure that journalists are protected and are not prevented from carrying out their duties.

In a separate development, on 27 July, the Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum (MJAF) district committee issued a press release prohibiting the sale and distribution of the "Kantipur" and "Annapurna Post" daily newspapers in Parsa, a Terai district located in central Nepal.

According to KC Lamichhane, secretary of FNJ's Parsa chapter, MJAF district secretary Umesh Salal Sahani criticised the two national dailies for not reporting on the MJAF's "banda" (national strike) programme in Parsa district. On 28 July, MJAF supporters collected all copies of the dailies and set fire to them at Ghantaghar, Birgunj, Parsa district headquarters.

During a recent protest against the vice-president's use of the Hindi language, demonstrators vandalised the offices of MJAF in Baneshwor, Kathmandu. MJAF subsequently called for a "banda" programmes in different parts of Terai protesting the attack on the Kathmandu office.

FNJ condemned MJAF's bevaviour and urged the group to refrain from interfering with people's right to information and freedom of expression.

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