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Newspapers burned during nationwide strike

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - On 25 January 2012, a general strike called by 13 student unions affiliated with different political parties paralyzed normal life across the country. In course of the strike, the students agitating against the price increase of petroleum products burnt copies of the "Nagarik" daily newspaper in Palpa, a hilly district in the western part of the country.

They burned the newspaper because it did not publish stories in favour of the strike they had called against price increases. They accused the "Nagarik" of writing editorials against the strike.

The students also threatened to burn copies of other newspapers that did not highlight the importance of their protest.

Meanwhile, a cadre of the Nepali Congress threatened to break the hand of a journalist and burn his newspaper in Lamjung, a hilly district in the western region of Nepal. This incident took place on 24 January, 2012. Nepali Congress party cadre Murali Kumal threatened the executive editor of the local daily newspaper "Lamjung Khabar", Navin Raj Kuikel, expressing dissatisfaction towards an editorial published in the newspaper.

Moreover, on 24 January, the party cadres also threatened camera operator Anjan Kumar Himali, who was taking pictures of their program. Himali is affiliated with the "Janaapekshya" weekly.

Meanwhile, an unknown person threatened Surya Tamang, news editor at Rupakot Community Radio of Khatang, a hilly district in the eastern part of the country on 23 January.

Talking to the Freedom Forum Media Monitoring Desk, news editor Tamang said, "An unknown person threatened me of taking physical action, saying that I was a journalist."

Freedom Forum condemns all four incidents as violations of press freedom, which is a constitutionally guaranteed right. It is condemnable that the political cadres have turned aggressive towards the media and journalists' rights report the news.

Freedom Forum therefore urges the aforementioned political party to teach their cadres to respect press freedom in the cases of the incidents in Palpa and Lamjung districts, and calls on the local administration to seek out the person who threatened the journalist in Khotang district so as to ensure the journalist's safety.

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