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Copies of newspaper set on fire by political party supporters

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - Freedom Forum's attention has been drawn towards a press freedom violation that occurred on 22 January 2012.

Members of sister organisations of various Madhes-based political parties set fire to copies of "Kantipur Daily" in various parts of the country, including the capital city, Kathmandu. The assailants were reportedly angered over an article published in the paper that allegedly tarnished the image of Madhes - the southern plain - and misrepresented the sentiments of the Madhesi people.

While burning copies of the newspaper at Hanumanthan in Kathmandu, Suresh Kumar Mandal, the chairman of the Tarai Madhes Students' Front, which is affiliated to the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, said that "[t]he article by Saurav published in 'Kantipur Daily' went against the dignity of Madhes and the Madhesi people and nationality."

Rather than resorting to legal means to address the matter, the students turned to violence and set fire to copies of the newspaper, which is an affront to press freedom. Moreover, incidents of this type contribute to an environment that limits the right to free expression.

Freedom Forum therefore condemns the act and urges the concerned political parties to instruct their cadres about freedom of expression and press freedom.

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