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7 Mar 2006
Text of report by Nepalese daily newspaper Rajdhani on 7 March
Dhangadhi [far-western Nepal], 6 March: Maoist Seti-Mahakali regional bureau chief Rakesh has said the Maoists do not have a policy of attacking the press. Rakesh said that his party backs a free press and is working accordingly. The statement from Rakesh came Sunday [5 March] after the central vice-president of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists [FNJ], D. R. Panta, said the Maoists were continuing to commit atrocities against the press and urged the rebels to work in line with their party policy.
FNJ Vice-President Panta said that despite the Maoist commitment to free press the rebels raided Ghodaghodi FM [Kailali District, far-western Nepal] and ordered journalist Ekindra Kunwar to appear before the "people's court", and he expressed an objection to Maoist activities.
Following Panta's criticism, Rakesh said low-level Maoist cadres have treated the press badly in some places but that Maoist party policy is clearly in favour of a free press and they would act accordingly.
He also said that the Maoists will not attack Ghodaghodi FM. However, he warned that Maoists will not spare Base [Backward Society Education, a non-governmental organization that runs the FM station], if Ghodaghodi FM is not handed over to the local community.
Source: Rajdhani, Kathmandu, in Nepali 7 Mar 06, p2
BBC Mon SA1 SAsPol MD1 Media cf/npi