The cadres of the Young Communist League (YCL), a youth wing of the ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-Maoist) on January 23, 2012 publicly threatened that as many as 10 journalists in Dailekh district would meet the fate of journalist Dekendra Thapa.
Organizing a rally to welcome the Prime Minister and party leaders in the district, the YCL cadres also panicked the locals and vandalized the office of the Hamro Teshro Ankha daily published and edited by Govinda KC.
Talking to Media Monitoring Desk of the Freedom Forum, reporter with the Annapurna Post daily from the district, Puskar Thapa, said, "We are publicly threatened of life by the Maoist cadres. The security for us is so meager that 10 journalists including myself are hiding to escape the aggressive Maoist cadres."
Similarly, Govinda KC who is a district reporter to the Nagarik daily said, "My office for the Hamro Teshro Ankha daily was vandalized by the Maoist cadres. They smashed window glass, snapped telephone wire and broke furniture."
Both Puskar Thapa and Govinda KC said the situation in Dailekh district headquarters was very tense because the both ruling party and the opposition parties were holding the mass meetings in the same area.
As a result, the clash broke out for more than three times between the ruling and opposition party cadres where six other journalists were injured.
It is worth noting that Dekendra Thapa from the district was killed excruciatingly by the Maoist cadres eight years ago and the murder accused were held last month by the police. After the journalists in Dailekh began making news about this, they are under constant threat by the Maoist leaders and cadres.
Freedom Forum condemns the threat and vandalism committed by the ruling Maoist party cadres.
Journalists' right to report freely about the political program was violated. Their lives itself is in threat by the cadres of the Prime Minister which is abhorrent act. It is quite deplorable that the journalists and the people are panicked and threatened at the program being addressed by the head of government.
Freedom Forum therefore strongly urges Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai not to suppress journalists' rights but to tame his cadres who are posing threat to journalists in Dailekh constantly for a month. The PM needs to respect press freedom and freedom of expression and teach his cadres accordingly.