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AMARC denounces attack on community radio station

(AMARC/IFEX) - September 30, 2009, Kathmandu - The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) denounces the attack on a reporter of Radio Kailash, a community radio station in Humla, West Nepal. The attack was carried out by a group of locals led by a member of the Constitution Assembly of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal Maoist.

On 24 September 2009, Radio Kailash reported that distribution of food grain in the food-starved Humla district was being unfairly influenced by Maoist assembly members and that party members were being favored to receive the state food aid. Following the broadcast, a group of local citizens went to the station and padlocked the doors. They then forcefully tried to take reporter Post Bohora to the Maoist party office. He was severely beaten when he resisted. An assembly member of the Maoist party is believed to have led the assailants.

AMARC Vice President for South Asia Raghu Mainali has expressed deep anguish and objection over the incident. "This is a serious breach of freedom of expression and the safety of a broadcaster and is highly condemnable. No one has the right to lock up a radio station or beat up a broadcaster. There are civilized and legal ways of protesting if one does not agree with the content of a broadcast," he said.

Raghu pointed to the fact that earlier incidents of violence against community radio stations in Nepal were mostly perpetrated by members of the Maoist party and that the party ought to correct its ways, should it genuinely care about the rights of the common people.

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