The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist has written to the media of Myagdi, a hilly district in the western region of Nepal, to stop disseminating news about the coming Constituent Assembly elections, otherwise face actions.
The CPN-Maoist which had been opposing the November 19 CA election in Nepal has recently written to the FM radios, and the daily and weekly newspapers in Myagdi, urging them not to publicize news on the CA election.
Talking to Freedom Forum Media Monitoring Desk, Station Manager at Radio Myagdi FM, Gopal Chhantyal, said, "The CPN-Maoist wrote us to stop making news on CA election, threatening if the media house publishes they themselves would be responsible for the actions the party take thereafter."
When asked whether the media in the district have stopped news on election, he said, "Although we have not stopped airing news about election, we are not free from fear."
Similar was the views of a publisher of the Myagdi Sanchar weekly, Sudarshan Shrestha. He said, "We journalists have our own code of conduct, so any party's diktat was meaningless. Therefore, news on election is continued. But, it is difficult to ward off fear psychology due to the threatening letter."
Freedom Forum condemns the CPN-Maoist's threat to media. The threat to media is a gross violation of press freedom and citizens' right to information. Such incidents never suit a democratic system. The threatening letter has obviously spread fear psychology among journalists in the concerned district. It is harmful to a professional media. Therefore, the FF urges the CPN-Maoist to respect people's right to information and press freedom.
"As election is also a part of citizen's right to freedom of expression, the news on it must be disseminated without any interference", comments Taranath Dahal, Freedom Forum's Chairperson.