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Fact Finding Mission Meets Victim Journalists in Kavre

A Fact Finding Mission of the Freedom Forum led by its Chairman Taranath Dahal with senior journalist Dharmendra Jha, and Senior Vice-President of Nepal Press Union, Hemant Kafle, went to Kavre, a neighbouring district of the capital city, on February 1, 2013 and visited the journalists who were attacked and left injured by the cadres of the ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist on February 28, 2013.

The Mission found that among the journalists attacked by the ruling Maoist party cadres, Krishna Neupane, a reporter with a local Grace FM, was very serious. He received injuries in spine and head.  He has been receiving treatment at Dhulikhel Hospital in the district. The doctors involved in his treatment said that Neupane was in need of operation after some days.

For the assistance in the treatment, Chairman Dahal provided Rs 5,000 while Vice-President of the Union Kafle Rs 10,000 to the victim journalist Neupane.

The Maoists cadre had also looted Mr Neupane's camera, bag and tape recorder.

Similarly, Editor of the Kavre times daily had his right hand broken in the attack while Prakash Sundash, a reporter to the Namo Buddha FM, received injury in face.

The journalists were attacked while reporting and photographing about the program being addressed by Vice-Chairman of the Maoist party and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.

Talking to the Mission, Manoj Basnet, reporter to the Kantipur daily and Moti Timalsina to the Sourya daily said that they were still receiving death threats by the Maoist cadres for writing news about their program.

Despite having knowledge about the assailants on journalists, the police administration has not arrested anyone yet. The concerned administration is mute about the attack and serious journalists.

With this, the journalists in the district applied at the District Administration Office and demanded the arrest of attackers, filing case on the attackers on murder case, compensation and free treatment to the ailing journalists on January 31. But the Chief District Officer has not heeded it, they told the Mission.

The agitated journalists also said that they were launching nationwide campaign for justice if the administration failed to heed their demands.

Freedom Forum expresses support to the journalists' demands and urges the government again to provide justice to the victimized journalists.

In the recent days, the UCPN-Maoist leaders and cadres have turned so aggressive towards media and journalists that they have posed serious threat to the media freedom and citizen's right to information.

Needless to say, suppression of media by the Maoists is condemnable. The party and its cadres need to respect free press to suit democratic culture and practice.