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Media Persons Manhandled

Freedom Forum’s attention has been drawn toward an incident that two media persons were manhandled in Kanchanpur, a Far-Western district of Nepal, on February 22, 2011.

Media persons-Khem Bhandari and Khagendra Pant- were manhandled by the cadres of the UCPN-Maoist and the journalists associated with the Revolutionary Journalists' Association in course of the vote count after an election to the new committee of district chapter of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) following its district convention. The cadres also tore the ballot papers.

The Association is the sister wing of the Maoist, largest political party of Nepal following an election to the constituent assembly.

One of the victims, Mr Bhandari said journalist Panta received injuries on his head and hands. Mr Bhandari, however, did not receive any apparent injuries.

Freedom Forum, as an organization advocating democracy and human rights, strongly urges the Maoist to instruct its sister organizations to exercise a democratic practice as free and fair election. If there was any wrongdoing during the vote count, the disgruntled group could talk, in a respected manner, to the election committee, a right body to hear the complaints, rather than resorting to manhandling the media persons.