Call to black out Maoist news

Kathmandu, November 7:

The National Network of Weeklies and Fortnightlies (NNWF) has decided to request all broadcast and print media not to give space to positive news and articles related to the CPN (Maoist) till December 1.

The decision came at a meeting of the NNWF, which was held here today.

The NNWF also urged the Maoist leadership to express commitment in public to put an end to violent activities, apologise in public for killing journalist Birendra Sah and hand over those involved in the killing to the police.

Following the killing of Shah, journalists from Banke have decided to boycott Maoist programmes, a report from Nepalgunj said. Meanwhile, six branches of the FNJ in districts of the far-west today decided to black out all news related to Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Maoist, a report from Dhangadhi said.

In Birgunj, secretary of the Parsa district chapter of the FNJ Dhruv Adhikari handed a five-point memorandum to CDO Deepak Kumar Joshi, urging the government to declare Birendra Shah a martyr.

Meanwhile, addressing a programme at Banepa, Minister for Education and Sports Pradip Nepal urged journalists to boycott Maoist news for a month so as to force them to put an end to the violence against the media.

He also accused the Maoists of protecting Lal Bahadur Chaudhary who was involved in the killing.

Nepal said the killing of Shah has exposed the Maoists’ true nature and their defeated mentality.

Speaking on the latest political scenario in the country, Nepal said the parliament can not announce a republic before the CA polls.

At the same programme, UML standing committee member Keshav Badal said his party will not exercise for a change in government leadership. “Unity of the leftists will not herald any change in the country at present.”

Likewise, speaking at a programme at the Reporters’ Club in Kathmandu, politicians and human rights activists said the Maoist leadership must apologize to the public for Shah’s killing; cooperate with the law enforcement bodies to take legal action against the culprits and provide compensation to Shah’s family.

UML lawmaker Gokarna Bista demanded that the Maoist leadership apologize to the public for the crime.

Rights activist Krishna Pahadi asked the FNJ to also raise the issue of Mahendranagar-based journalist Pakash Thakuri, who was abducted by alleged Maoist cadres in July. The Maoist leadership has remained tight-lipped till the date about the abduction.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Binaya Dwoj Chand lamented that the Maoists have been violating

all agreements and understandings including the 12-point pact and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Maoist MP Janardan Sharma aka Prabhakar expressed commitment to fully cooperate with the government to book the guilty.

He said party’s Bara district leader Lal Bahadur Chaudhary and two accomplices killed Shah due to “personal conflict” despite the party’s stated policy of respecting the media freedom. He said that his party would provide assistance to Shah’s family.

Speaking at a programme at Rajbiraj of Saptari, speakers stressed that Maoist chairman Prachanda should take moral responsibility for the upkeeping of the family of the late journalist Shah.