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Newspapers Burnt, Journos Assaulted

A group of youths burnt the copies of the Kantipur (Nepali) and Kathmandu Post (English) dailies at Bansatari of Palpa, a hilly district in the western region of the country, on July 20, 2013.

The dailies were burnt over the news reports they carried a day earlier.

The group of youth was led by Surendra Pandey, central member of the Youth Association, a youth wing of the Communist Party of Nepal (UML). Also, the locals from Mandiphant of Palpa had burnt the newspapers on the same reason.

It is the blatant violation of press freedom. If the people were discontent with the news content, they could take the legal recourse to have their voices/demands heard. But burning newspapers merely over the publication of news story is against free press.

The burning of newspaper also hampered citizen's right to information.

Freedom Forum therefore condemns the incident and strongly urges the concerned authorities to book those involved in the incident.

Meanwhile, two journalists-one in Solukhumbhu, a mountainous district in the eastern region and another in Dailekh, a far western hilly district, were attacked, but not related to the press freedom.

On July 15, a Bharat Shrestha affiliated with the a local Himal FM, was assaulted by administrative officer in the District Development Committee, Tularaj Sunuwar, reasoning journalist Shrestha complained about the latter's misuse of finance.

Similarly, Executive Editor at the Teshro Ankha daily was attacked by drug peddlers without any apparent reason.

These two incidents show how feeble the physical security of journalists is in Nepal.

The administration concerned must heed the issue and bring to book the culprits to deter self-censorship among journalists, FF concludes.