A group of workers affiliated to ruling party CPN (Maoist) barged into the office of Himal Media in Lalitpur, Hattiban and vandalized office building injuring more than 12 media workers including distinguished senior journalist Kunda Dixit. Dozens of pro-Maoist workers headed by central Chairperson of Maoist-aligned All Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union Ramesh Babu Panta and Vice-president of All Nepal Communications, Printing and Publications Welfare Union, Lalitpur chapter Rajesh KC entered into the office of Himal Media – a renowned publication house that publishes Himal Khabarpatrika fortnightly magazine, Himal South Asian monthly and Nepali Times weekly –and resorted to vandalism and beating at around 11 PM, Sunday, December 21.
The group resorted to such an extreme action taking up the issue of news coverage against Maoist trade union in the latest edition of Himal Magazine. The magazine criticized the Maoists anarchic act of disrupting the publication and distribution of newspaper with the use of hooligans and their cadres.
They entered into the office while the management team was holding meeting there. "The group started vandalizing office building and beating media workers when KC pointed his finger at CEO Ashutosh Tiwari”, according to Kiran Pandey, photo journalist of Himal Media.
Twelve persons including editor of internationally known Nepali Times Dixit, chief executive officer Ashutosh Tiwari, Finance Officer Bindira Shakya and journalist Dambar Bahadur Shrestha were injured in the attack.
The pro-Maoist workers have claimed that the magazine carried anti-Maoist pieces.
Earlier, too, the pro-Maoist workers have been accused of threatening CEO Tiwari, and disrupting the distribution of magazine.
Terming this assault a meanest act against press freedom and advancement of journalism in Nepal, Freedom Forum strongly deplores the incident and demands with the government to ensure its presence to safeguard journalist's right to impart information and their duty to expose objective news. "It is the consequence of hollow thoughts and zero sensitivity towards press freedom and freedom of expression which is utterly not acceptable in open and democratic society", said Freedom Forum Chairperson Taranath Dahal, adding, "It is the ploy against Himal magazine to close its publication which can never be justifiable and possible till there is democracy."
The Forum calls for solidarity from national and international media organizations and journalists to combat against every move meant to discourage free press and freedom of expression in Nepal.
For more information,