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Nepalese journalist assaulted by Maoist Party supporters

Leela Ghimire, a reporter with the Karobar daily, was assaulted by cadres of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist in the capital city, Kathmandu, on March 14, 2013.

Talking to Freedom Forum's media monitoring desk, Ghimire said, "While I was going to my office on a scooter, the CPN-Maoist cadres attacked me from behind at Thapathali Chowk, although I was carrying and had shown my press card."

The cadres of the CPN-Maoist party were demonstrating in the streets of the capital city to protest the swearing in of the Chief Justice as the new prime minister.

Ghimire's little finger on his left hand was broken as a result of the attack and he needed surgery.

Such incidents are largely responsible for sowing fear and self-censorship among Nepali journalists. Also, it is an indication of how Maoist cadres regard the press and media persons. Freedom Forum condemns the incident and urges the authorities to book the attackers and mete out justice.

In a separate incident, the editor and publisher of the Janahit weekly, Satya Narayan Sharma, was assaulted by hospital employees on March 11, 2013. Sharma was reporting on a woman's death in a local hospital in Biratnagar, a city in the eastern plain of Nepal.

According to the editor, the hospital was shut down following the woman's death after concerns for the staff's security. Agitated hospital employees then staged a sit-in near the gate of the District Administration Office, in Morang, to demand the immediate re-opening of the hospital and ample security.

While Sharma was taking a photograph of the sit-in, the employees rushed towards him and beat him up, saying, "Why are you writing only negative news about the hospital?"

Finally, on March 9, 2013, two reporters were barred by police persons from taking photographs of a cultural program in Hetauda, a city in the southern plain of the central region of Nepal.

Shuba Laxmi BK, of the local Sambriddha daily, and Ranjita Dangol, of the Hashana monthly, were barred from photographing the event.

Freedom Forum expresses concern over both incidents and strongly urges hospital staff and the police to respect media freedom and journalists' right to carry out their profession.

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