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Journalists threatened by businessmen

(FNJ/IFEX) - During the last week of October, a month which is traditionally one of festivity and celebration, the FNJ recorded a series of free expression violations and attacks on journalists.

In addition to regularly coming under threat of violence from political, ethnic and religious groups, it seems journalists must now confront threats from businessmen as well. Siddharaj Upadhyay, a correspondent with the national daily "Gorkhapatra", based in the western district of Doti, was manhandled by businessman Birendra Shah on 28 October 2008 in Dipayal, the district's capital. Shah also threatened to kill the journalist if he wrote anything against him. Shah, referring to Upadhyay's coverage of his alleged links to gambling, asked, "Who are you to write news against us?"

In a separate incident on the same day, Sushil Pokharel, president of the FNJ's Pyuthan chapter, was threatened by Dal Bahadur K.C., a former chairperson of the Village Development Committee (VDC) - Bijubar, in Pyuthan district, for failing to mention the name of the Srijansil football club in a live radio broadcast during the annual celebration of Dalle, in Pyuthan.

FNJ condemns both of these attacks and calls on the public to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The FNJ further urges the public not to hinder journalists in the performance of their duty of gathering and disseminating information.

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