Attack on Himalmedia condemned

Kathmandu, December 22:

Various organisations have condemned yesterday’s attack on Himalmedia by the workers’ union affiliated to the CPN-Maoist.

Saying that dangerous situations had been witnessed in the media houses, the National Human Rights Commission called on the government to provide security to the media houses. “The government should know that the right to publication and freedom of speech and expression are recognised as fundamental rights in the constitution,” NHRC secretary said, issuing a press release.

Nepali Congress called the attack a serious and shameful act. Acting NC president Sushil Koirala and leaders today visited the office of Himalmedia at Lalitpur. “This is an attack not only on the press but also against democracy and characterises the Maoists’ totalitarian strategy,” 33 Congress CA members said in a joint statement. The NC CA members including Nabindra Raj Joshi, Ambika Basnet, Dhanaraj Gurung and Jagadishwor Nara Singha KC also expressed their solidarity against the movement of press freedom.

The US Embassy in Kathmandu condemned the attack as a blatant, illegal assault on the freedom of press, adding that the culture of impunity, which had protected some criminals from prosecution for violent and illegal actions, should end.

The Presidency of the European Union in Kathmandu urged the government to use all its authority and influence to ensure freedom of expression in the country and take legal action against the perpetrators.

The Ministry of Information and Communications urged the parties involved to sit together and work out a solution, rather than blaming each other.

The Nepal Bar Association also called on the government to punish the culprits. NBA president Bishwo Kanta Mainali urged the government to end the state of impunity.

Saying that the attack on media is an attack on Loktantra, Supreme Court Bar Association labelled the act as a violation of fundamental rights upon the fourth estate.

Nepal Press Institute, National Network of Weekly and Fortnightly Newspapers, Press Chautari Nepal and Association of Community Radio Broadcasters’ Nepal, Nepal Medical Association also condemned the attack and called on the government to provide security to the fourth estate.

The Human Rights and Peace Society accused the Maoists of promoting dual governance by attacking the press when it had been leading the government. The HURPES called on the government to recognise the rights of the press and to provide security to the journalists.

Six journos hurt in police action

KATHMANDU: At least six journalists were injured when the police attacked a peaceful demonstration of journalists protesting the Maoist attack on Himalmedia.

FNJ secretary Ramji Dahal sustained serious injuries and is undergoing treatment in Kathmandu Model Hospital. Photojournalist Usha Titikchhu was also injured. Rewati Dhakal, Inspector at Metropolitan Police Circle Baneshwor and Amarendra Kumar Singh, Inspector at Metropolitan Police Sector Singha Durbar, had led the attack on journalists, FNJ said.

The journalists’ apex body condemned the attack on journalists and has asked the government to provide free treatment to Dahal and investigate the incident.

Saying that they had been deprived of press freedom, the FNJ has announced a nation-wide protest programme. FNJ is staging a rally at 3 pm on Tuesday starting at Babarmahal and a sit-in at the southern gate of Singha Durbar for an hour.

Ramji’s brother Deepak Dahal said Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam had promised to probe the incident and take action against the police personnel involved. — HNS