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Daily threatened over satirical cartoon

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - Freedom Forum is concerned over a press freedom violation that took place on 22 August 2011 in Morang, a district in the southern plains area of Eastern Nepal.

An individual named Hari Shivakoti, from Sijuwa, accosted Khagendra Basnet, a distributor for the local daily "Nigarani", and told him he would burn down the newspaper's facilities.

According to the daily's editor, Hari Koirala, Shivakoti threatened to burn down the newspaper's offices saying the paper had published a cartoon in its "gaijatre" edition that reprimanded and was insulting to him and his relatives, and well wishers. Gaijatre comes from the word gaijatra, a Nepalese festival during which insults, mockery and satire about politicians and other powerful people is generally accepted.

The threat constitutes a press freedom violation, in addition to the fact that the actions against Basnet interfered with the distribution of "Nigarani" and resulted in a violation of the right to information of the paper's readers.

Freedom Forum condemns this incident and urges those involved to respect media freedom so as to assist in the creation of a democratic and just society.

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