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Television correspondent and radio technician assaulted; publisher prevented from printing newspapers

(FNJ/IFEX) - The FNJ has recently witnessed a number of media rights violations, attacks, threats and obstruction of major media houses, including Himalmedia, APCA Nepal and Kantipur Publications. Media violation rates have not decreased even as the FNJ, the Alliance for Press Freedom and other professional and human rights activists' alliances conduct protests against the media attacks.

According to a press release issued on 24 December 2008 by Pramod Ayam, the FNJ's Avenues chapter secretary, Suman Dhungana, a correspondent for Avenues Television, was attacked at the Nepal Commerce Campus in Minbhawan, Kathmandu, by members of the Revolutionary Student Union, which is allied with the Nepal Communist Party-Maoist. Dhungana was attacked for giving a speech on press freedom during a programme organised by the college. He suffered nose and ear injuries and is being treated at Kantipur Hospital.

On 25 December, a group of five men attacked Ruru FM radio station in Gulmi, western Nepal. The men assaulted technician Raju Basnet with a knife and hurled stones at the station. Basnet was seriously injured in the attack.

On 26 December, Bhola Thapa, the president of the FNJ's Kavre chapter, was threatened by a group calling themselves members of the Youth Communist League (YCL).

On 27 December, editions of "The Kathmandu Post" and "Kantipur" newspaper could not be published in the Eastern Region as the Maoist-aligned unions continued to control the editorial and administrative sections of Kantipur Publications', which publishes the two papers, as well as its printing house in Biratnagar. The unions have taken control of the regional office for five days, demanding that Kantipur management meet their demands. However, Kantipur Publications said most of their demands have already been met. The unions have been barring people from the regional office premises. The Biratnagar chapter of the Nepal Press Union issued a statement saying the siege of the Kantipur office has affected all media.

On 28 December, the western regional office of Kantipur Publications, in Pokhara, also received a set of demands from the Maoist-aligned union. The union said that it will begin street protests against the publisher if its demands are not met.

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