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Newspaper targeted by political party supporters; editor receives death threat; youth seize newspaper copies

(FNJ/IFEX) - FNJ denounces three recent attacks against the media in different parts of the country.

In the first incident, on 7 August 2008, members of the political party Madheshi Janaadikar Forum Madhesh, Gupta faction (MJAFM-G), broke into the offices of the daily newspaper "Prateek" in Birgunj, Parsa.

About 20 people, who were angry over reports published in the newspaper, stormed the offices and damaged office furniture, a newspaper vehicle and other goods.

In the second incident, on 7 August, J.P. Gupta, editor and publisher of the weekly "Dishanirdesh Today", received a warning that he would be abducted and killed. FNJ issued a press release condemning the threat, which was issued by Kasiram (Prasad Gurung), president of the Insurance Unity and Life Company, managing director Bishnu Bahadur Chattrai, and the company's chief accountant, Bhim Gurung.

In a third incident, the president of FNJ's Dhankuta chapter, Bijaya Santoshi Rai, reported that members of the youth wing of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) intercepted a Kantipur Publications vehicle at around 8:00 a.m. (local time) on 7 August. The youths seized about 500 copies of the "Kathmandu Post" and "Kantipur" dailies, which they accuse of biased reporting against their group. The group also threatened "Kathmandu Post" reporter Ramesh Chandra Adhikari, also accusing him of collecting and disseminating information biased against them.

The two newspapers had reported allegations of illegal tax collection carried out in the region by several groups, including the youth group. After the intervention of the FNJ's local chapter, the youth agreed to return the newspapers they had seized in the evening.

FNJ is concerned over the increasing number of media rights violations throughout Nepal. The organisation urges the government to put an end to impunity by creating a favourable environment for the press to perform its duty.

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