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Flurry of Death Threats on Journalists in Dailekh, Journalists Agitated Across the Country

Update

The leaders and cadres of the ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), and its breakaway faction-Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in Dailekh, a far western district of Nepal, have begun issuing death threats on the journalists over the news reports they made about recent arrest of their fellow cadres and leaders on alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa eight year back.

Talking to Freedom Forum's Media Monitoring Desk on January 10, 2013, district reporter with the Annapurna Post daily, Puskar Thapa, said, "Maoists leaders have been issuing death threats on us since our reports about last week's arrest of their cadres and leaders over the gruesome murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa. We are feeling insecure though we drew the attention of the administration concern over the threats."

According to him, the journalists in the district are panicked and agitated after the threats, and Prime Minister's alleged intervention on January 8 in the ongoing interrogation of the murder accused.

Not only journalists but also civil society, general public and professionals have been protesting the Prime Minister's pressure.

Reporter Thapa further said the journalists and civil society members are holding discussions with the political parties in the district about the security of the journalists today (Jan 10).

Freedom Forum therefore condemns the Prime Minister's move to protect impunity by letting the criminals off the hook. The administration in the district needs to provide ample security to the journalists, and the Maoist parties (one in power) must respect the rule of law, freedom of expression, press freedom and democratic principles. The Freedom Forum is for the fair investigation on the murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa.

Five Maoist party leaders and cadres in the district were arrested by the police last week in connection with the Dekendra's murder after eight years of the crime.

It is worth noting here that one of the arrested, Laxmi Ram Gharti, has already confessed the crime, saying journalist Dekendra Thapa was buried alive to death.

Now, not only Dailekh district but the journalists, legal practitioners, human rights bodies, rights defenders, civil society members all across the country have been agitated over government ill-effort to stop ongoing investigation. Various organizations of the journalists, rights defenders, and professionals have vehemently criticized government's maneuver to cover the decade long crime. They organized protest programmes and rallies in different parts of the country including the capital city Kathmandu against Prime Minister's move. Freedom Forum expresses solidarity to the programmes against autocratic character of the government.