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Politician threatens journalists; another journalist assaulted

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) – A member of Nepali Congress, the second-largest political party in Nepal, has threatened to kill several journalists. The threats were made during the party's district convention on 29 August 2010.

Mohan Basnet, who is the district coordinator for the party in Sindhupalchok, a district in central Nepal, accused the journalists of not favoring him during the Nepali Congress district convention. According to Dhurba Dangal, a reporter for "Nagarik Daily", Basnet threatened the journalists over the phone, using insulting language and threatening to take their lives.

In a separate incident, on 30 August a group of miscreants insulted and assaulted Bhim Rasaili, the publisher and editor of "Himalpari Weekly" in Mustang, a remote district located in the western part of the country.

The criminals smeared soot on Rasaili's face and paraded him around the district headquarters of Jomsom in retaliation for an article on prostitution that he published in a recent edition of the newspaper.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns both incidents. Regarding the first incident, Nepali Congress is known to be a liberal party committed to freedom of expression and of the press in Nepal. Freedom Forum asks the Nepali Congress leadership to punish Basnet and ensure the security of journalists at the district level. Freedom Forum urges the government to take immediate action against Basnet in a transparent manner.

Freedom Forum is also concerned about the assault on Rasaili. It is an apparent violation of the rule of law and existing legal remedies of Nepal. Freedom Forum urges the local government authorities to take action against everyone involved in the incident and ensure the rule of law is respected. Furthermore, Freedom Forum asks the police authorities to provide security to Rasaili in the coming days.

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