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Journalist attacked, press vehicles vandalised by protesters

(FNJ/IFEX) - Madhu Jung Pandey, a counselor of FNJ's Rajdhani Chapter and a reporter for "Rajdhani Daily", was attacked by protesters linked to the Tarun Dal, an organisation affiliated with the Nepali Congress. The incident occurred at 2:40 p.m. on 17 December 2011, while Pandey was on a reporting assignment in Balaju, Kathmandu.

Pandey was covering a nationwide general strike that was called to protest the death of Shiva Poudel, president of the Tarun Dal wing in Chitwan District. The protests brought normal life to a standstill across the country. The protesters attacked the journalist and set his motorbike on fire, even though Pandey had shown them his press card.

The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) strongly condemns the incident. An attack on a journalist while he is on duty is an obstacle to the free flow of information. FNJ calls on the government to provide journalists with security.

The FNJ is also concerned over the fact that a number of press vehicles were vandalised in Kathmandu by the Tarun Dal protesters on 19 December 2011. This occurred despite the party leadership's claims that the protests would be peaceful and press vehicles would not be obstructed.

A van belonging to the "Naya Patrika" daily was vandalized in Gwarko, Kathmandu, at 9:15 a.m., as the driver was returning after distributing the paper.

Similarly, a vehicle for Nepal FM was vandalized in New Baneshwar while it was on its way to drop off a staff member.

In a separate incident, protesters assaulted Pushpa Neupane, assistant news chief for Radio Mirmire, and vandalized his motorcycle at Satdobato, Lalitpur.

The FNJ calls on the government to take action against those involved in the vandalism and provide compensation to the aggrieved parties.
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