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Newspaper office vandalised, distributor and journalists attacked in separate incidents

(FNJ/IFEX) - The office of "Sandhyakalin Daily", an evening paper located in Bhotahiti, a district in central Kathmandu, was attacked on 21 September 2008 at around 1 p.m. (local time) by demonstrators.

According to general secretary G. P. Gupta of the Network of Daily Newspapers in the Valley, a group of demonstrators hurled stones at the newspaper office and vandalised it, causing damage of about US$800.

The attack was due to a 21 September report in the paper about a protest against the government's decision to cut funding in the new budget for cultural festivals. Demonstrators also attacked the paper's distributor near the Bir Hospital area.

Local communities in Kathmandu have been protesting against the government's decision to cut funds in the new budget for the sacrificing of animals in upcoming cultural festivals.

FNJ condemns the incident and urges protesters not to hinder the printing and publication process because of published news. It also asks the authorities to investigate the incident and provide compensation for damages.

Meanwhile, D.B. Thokar (Gyamjo), editor of "Janapratirodh Weekly" based in Kavre, a neighbouring district in the Kathmandu valley, was attacked by two locals on 18 September while he was carrying published newspapers from the press.

According to Bhola Thapa, president of FNJ's Kavre chapter, two locals named Rajkumar and Mahabir assaulted Thokar at around 10 p.m. (local time) on Chaitnya Road in the city of Banepa. The reason for the attack is still unknown.

In another incident on the morning of 18 September, the office of the Kathmandu-based "Metro Post" daily and "Democracy" weekly was vandalised by a group of some 15 armed people who said they were members of the Night Restaurant Entrepreneurs' Association.

The group entered the publications office and manhandled editor Ramhari Silwal and computer operator Laxman Chitrakar, injuring them. Window-glass, a computer, printer, scanner and furniture were vandalised.

FNJ has strongly condemned these attacks on media and media employees. The federation has also asked the government to investigate the incidents, punish the perpetrators and provide compensation for damages.

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