In a blatant attack on the freedom of the press, cadres of the Shiva Sena Nepal, a Hindu fundamentalist group, assaulted Nepal Republic Media (NRM) journalists on Thursday.
Around 30-35 Shiva Sena activists vandalised the Sundhara-based office of the Nagarik daily and manhandled journalists, objecting to the contents of Shukrabar, a weekly tabloid published by the NRM. Kishor Nepal, who is the editor-in-chief of the Nagarik daily and Shukrabar, was the visible target.
The cadres shouted ‘Long live Shiva Sena’, prompting journalists to come out of their offices and assess the situation. Heated arguments concerning the “nude” photographs of models carried by the tabloid followed. Nepal, who was in an editorial meeting on another floor, was unaware of the happenings.
“The crowd exploded when they identified me as the editor. One of them grabbed me by the collar and started swinging me to and fro,” said Nepal. Nagarik journalists Sudarshan Sapkota, Rajendra Gyawali and Bishwomani Pokhrel were thrashed in their attempt to save Nepal. Sapkota, who sustained minor lip cuts, said that the crowd entered Nagarik’s newsroom and threatened to burn it down.
DSP Dhiraj Pratap Singh, spokesperson for the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range, said they were interrogating 13 Shiva Sena cadres, including its General Secretary Madhav Prasad Bhandari, who were held from the office.
Shiva Sena Nepal, meanwhile, owned up to the assault, claiming that the move was against the “misleading and vulgar content published in Shukrabar.” “Our attack is on the sexually explicit content published by Shukrabar, against the sentiments of our cultured Nepali society,” a statement posted by the Shiv Sena on its Facebook page reads.
Nepal said that “offensive” content could not be the sole reason behind the attack. He claimed that a news piece on the misuse of late king Birendra Shah’s property, published in Thursday’s edition of Shukrabar, was the main cause.
The Federation of Nepali Journalists, Media Society and Editors’ Alliance (MSEA), the Broadcasting Association of Nepal, Advertising Association of Nepal, Human Rights Alliance and the Nepali Congress issued separate statements to condemn the assault. “Violence cannot be justified on any pretext,” the MSEA stated.
Posted on: 2012-12-21 08:44