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Two journalists receive death threats after reporting on Nepali migrant workers' conditions

This statement was originally published on nepalpressfreedom.org on 13 April 2015.

On April 11, 2015, Dev Raj KC, reporter for Araniko Television, and Buddha Lopchan, reporter for the Commander Post daily, from Kavre, a district near the capital city, received death threats in connection with their reporting.

According to Krishna Neupane, a reporter for Image Channel television, KC and Lopchan were sent threatening messages on their phones for reporting on the conditions for Nepali workers in Malaysia.

Neupane added that the death threats were sent by the Young Communist League, a youth wing of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

Despite the UCPN (Maoist) entering into a peaceful political process, the party's supporters have yet to shun their violent nature - there have been repeated instances of them menacing journalists and stifling their rights.

Freedom Forum condemns the incident as a violation of press freedom and journalists' right to freely report. The local authority is therefore urged to take action to prevent possible attacks against KC and Lopchan, so as to help protect press freedom and prevent impunity.

Supporters of another political party attack singer


In a separate incident, cadres of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) attacked singer Ramaji Nepali from Baglung municipality, and broke his leg. The stated reason was that Nepali had sang for an opposition party candidate in the recent by-election of the Constituent Assembly in Baglung district, on April 10.

The singer had sang in praise of the late leader Hari Bahadur Khadka of the Nepali Congress, a democratic party, expressing his favour for the candidate and Khadka's wife, Champa Devi.

Nepali was admitted to hospital in Pokhara, a city in western Nepal.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the incident as it is a gross violation of freedom of expression and an attempt to stifle this fundamental right.

Although the police have arrested some cadres of the CPN (UML) involved in the attack, a full investigation has yet to be undertaken. The attackers must be meted out strong punishment following a fair investigation, Freedom Forum stresses.

Journalist attacked


In the evening of April 12, Laba Dev Dhungana, a journalist affiliated to the local Kanchanjungha Times daily of Panchthar, a district in eastern Nepal, was attacked over a news report.

According to Jitendra Bhandari, a reporter for the National News Agency (RSS), Chairperson of District Sports Development Committee, Yogendra Saoden Lenjo, Member Secretary Matrika Dahal and another local citizen named Chandra Tamang, thrashed Dhungana, over a story published in Kanchanjungha Times. The attackers are all affiliated to the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

Injured severely in the attack, journalist Dhungana was rushed to Neuro Hospital of Biratnagar, a city in the southern plains.

If the attackers had any objection to the content of the published news, they could have taken alternative measure to show their discontent; resorting to an attack on the journalist is an affront on press freedom.

The district police have arrested all three attackers on the morning of April 13.

Freedom Forum condemns the attack, and strongly urges the concerned authority to fairly investigate the case and bring the attackers to book.

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