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Nepali-language journalists, media outlets threatened by Terai region-based rebel group

(FNJ/IFEX) - Journalist Sheetal Sah, a member and the coordinator of the FNJ's central region chapter, was threatened by Terai Rashtriya Mukti Sena (Terai National Liberation Army, TNLA) on the evening of 14 August 2008 while he was working in his office in Janakpur, in Dhanusha district.

A person who claimed to be from TNLA and introduced himself as Baba Khan warned Sah that he would be physically attacked, in a call made from mobile telephone number 9804886334. He also threatened Sah, saying, "Whatever you like, do today, you will not be able to do it tomorrow." This threat is believed to be a continuation of similar threats previously made by the TNLA to local journalists in Janakpur to the effect that the TNLA would close all newspapers and radio stations using the Nepali language. It has been reported that editors of the "Sirish" and "Janasaugat" weeklies of the same districts have also received similar threats from the same person.

On 4 August, the TNLA eastern region leader, Akash Tyagi, warned all journalists in the district to stop the publication and broadcast of news in the Nepali language, advising them the TNLA would physically retaliate against any journalists disobeying the order. Khan has said that Tyagi is his leader.

In a press statement, FNJ condemned the threat and asked the TNLA to respect the existing law and the people's right to information and expression. Every citizen has right to use any language of the country. It has also asked the government to show some concern regarding such serious incidents affecting journalists' security.

Updates alert on prior threat against Nepali-language media:

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