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Constituent Assembly member threatens journalists

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - On 5 August 2010, in the capital city, Kathmandu, Pramod Gupta, a Nepalese Constituent Assembly member, issued a threat against journalists, warning them that they could receive a beating. Gupta represents the Madhesi Peoples' Right Forum (Democratic), the fourth largest party in the Constituent Assembly.

The incident took place after reports stating that Gupta held a secret meeting with the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-Maoist) were published and broadcast by the media. Gupta denied having met with Maoist leaders and accused journalists of disseminating baseless information. He then warned journalists that they could receive a beating in the near future. According to the 6 August edition of the "Kantipur" daily, Gupta said, "They (the journalists) will know everything after getting punched." He, however, did not refer to any specific journalists by name. Earlier, his party's youth leaders had protested in front of the venue where he was holding the meeting with the Maoist leaders.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns this incident and is of the opinion that threats against journalists issued by an individual in Gupta's position constitute a violation of the rule of law. Freedom Forum urges the party leadership to take immediate action against Gupta and calls on Gupta himself to respect press freedom and refrain from repeating actions of this type in the future.

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