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Party supporters angered over press coverage, vandalise press vehicle

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - 25 May 2011 - Activists from the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (CPN-M) led by Matrika Yadav vandalized a vehicle belonging to Kantipur Publications and assaulted three of its employees at Manaharwa Chowk, in Siraha, in the southern plain of Nepal, on 24 May 2011.

A group of about 30 party cadres smashed the windshield and headlights of the vehicle and beat the driver, Lila Khadka, and distributors Rajesh Bhandari and Ram Bandhu Poudel, according to "The Kathmandu Post", an English daily published by Kantipur.

According to Poudel, the Maoist activists accused the publishing company of not covering their party's news. Police arrested one suspect in connection with the incident.

As the country approaches the extended deadline of the Constituent Assembly (CA) on 28 May, a series of strikes and protest actions have been called by various political parties and sectarian ethnic groups to demand that their proposals be addressed in the new constitution. Journalists often find themselves caught in the middle of the agitation and protests, mostly for not covering the news from the various sides.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns the actions of the cadres of the Yadav-led Maoist party and asks the government to closely monitor press freedom violations and investigate the attack on Kantipur Publications. It is the responsibility of the government to guarantee an environment within which media workers may feel safe to carry out their professional activities.
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