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Attacks on the press continue during NEFIN protests

UPDATE: Journalists targeted during protests in Nepal (CPJ, 23 May 2012)

(FNJ/IFEX) - 22 May 2012 - The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) regrets the fact that incidents involving the harassment and attacks on journalists and the vandalisation of press vehicles continued on 22 May 2012, the last day of the three-day nationwide shutdown called by the joint struggle committee of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN). FNJ strongly condemns and deplores this tyrannical situation that has terrorised the press and spread a state of fear by protesters in the name of shutdown or strikes.

The following incidents were recorded by FNJ:
- On the morning of 22 May, protesters vandalised a vehicle that was headed to Kakadbhiita (Eastern region of Nepal) and delivering copies of "Nagarik Daily" in Kerakha of Jhapa District (Eastern region of Nepal).
- Dhruba Basnet, station manager of Star FM, was also harassed by protesters at 10:30 AM in Kaushaltar, Bhaktapur (eastern side of the capital city of Kathmandu) and his motorcycle was vandalised. In the Koteshwore area of Kathmandu, a different group of protesters lobbed red vermillion powder and handed a pen to Basnet, asking him to write in their favour.
- In Ghattaghar of Bhaktapur, the protesters vandalised a vehicle belonging to Mountain Television and harassed the station's staff. The same protesters also looted a gold chain from Meena Khadka, a station employee.
- In Nuwakot (Central Region of Nepal), the protesters issued a press release about FNJ Councillor Dhruba Rawal, accusing him of not promoting the protests in his reports and spreading negativity. The same release also says that Rawal himself should now be held responsible if any untoward incident occurs against him.

It is sad and a matter of concern that protesters who claim to be raising issues of their rights have been attacking journalists and vandalising vehicles belonging to the media fraternity who have taken up the responsibility to inform the general public as well as assist in the development of ideas. The FNJ calls on all concerned parties to correct their undemocratic behavior and requests that the government to pay special attention to the security of journalists, manage mechanisms to treat those injured, as well as provide immediate compensation for the vehicles of journalists and media houses that have been damaged.


FNJ also recorded the following incidents which had taken place on 21 May 2012, the second day of the three-day nationwide shutdown:

- Prakash Adhikari, councillor of FNJ's Chitwan Chapter and a Chitwan-based correspondent for Sagarmatha Television, was harassed and his motorcycle was vandalised by the protestors in Chitwan (Central region of Nepal) while he was on a reporting assignment.
- Protesters also vandalised the vehicle of "Gorkhapatra Daily" while it was delivering copies of the newspaper in Narayangud, Chitwan.
- Protesters vandalised the motorcycle of Radheshyam Khatiwada, Secretary of FNJ's Chitwan Chapter.
- Rameshwar Sapkota, Dharmendra Sapkota, cameraperson/s Pratikshya Sharma and Mukti Shrestha, all affiliated with Mountain Television, and Ashok Tuladhar, a journalist affiliated with "Abhiyan Daily", were attacked by the protesters at 12:30 pm in Gwarko Chok, Lalitpur, while they were on a reporting assignment. Journalist Tuladhar sustained a serious injury to his head.
- Nabaraj Shrestha and Nirmal Wali, both affiliated with News 24 Television, were harassed and their vehicle was vandalised in Gwarko, Lalitpur. Some protesters also forcefully seized their camera.
- Protesters vandalised the motorcycle of Pawan Barsha Shah, affiliated with "Karobar Daily", in Dillibazar, Kathmandu, while she was on the way to the office.

In addition to the previously recorded 20 May 2012 attacks, FNJ adds the case of Ramhari Pandey, a journalist affiliated with "Sourya Daily", who was harassed and whose motorcycle was vandalised by protesters in Chabahil, Kathmandu on 20 May.

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