Media Mission men meet Maoist leaders

Pokhara, March 23:

A team of the International Media Mission, which is here to inquire about the state of the media and journalists, met Maoist leaders in a remote village in Palpa last night.

The team met Maoist central member and deputy commander, Pavakar, deputy spokesperson, Ramesh Koirala and commissar of the fifth division of the Maoists, Sudarshan, at the Deugir area at Jhadewa VDC.

The two sides discussed the state of the media and the plight of journalists in the country, members of the visiting team said.

Representatives of the team, Sadarf Asard, Winsent Brasels, Ashis Sen, vice-president of the Federation of Nepali Journalists, Gangadhar Parajuli, FNJ members Purna Basnet, Durga Karki and journalist Purusottam Dahal attended the meeting. The members further said the Maoists would not carry out attacks on the media and journalists.

“Maoist leaders expressed their commitment to press freedom during the meeting,” Parajuli said. “We will not target journalists. All attacks on them in the past were by mistake,” Parajuli told this daily, quoting the Maoists. He said the Maoists have agreed not to repeat the mistakes.

On the attack on an FM station during the Tansen clash, the Maoists said they had no idea that the building they attacked also housed the FM station. On the Ghodaghodi FM that has stopped transmission following threats from the Maoists, the members of the visiting team quoted the Maoist leaders as saying that the problem will be solved soon.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the FNJ, Rupandehi branch, Deepak Gyawali, presented a report on the condition of the press at a press conference organised in the FNJ office today.

According to the report, the media is being victimised by both the Maoists and the government.