Nepali Press Will Fight Against Maoists

BIRTHDAY BLOG: Today happens to be the third birthday of United We Blog!, Nepal’s pioneering web site. But, as in a person’s life, UWB has also gone through many ups and downs. They say, history repeats. It has been repeated, albeit in the form of tyranny raising its ugly head. We celebrated the first birthday anniversary of the site while the country was fighting king Gyanendra’s autocracy (that he imposed in Feb 1, 2005 coup). Today the Maoists are trying to intimidate the free press by attacking Kantipur Publications, the largest independent media house in Nepal, where many of the UWB bloggers work. We will fight the Maoist’s intervention in the media as well.

[Kantipur Publications regrets Maoist threat to close down newspapers, TV –read here
Govt won’t compromise press freedom: PM –read here]

YCL in Kantipur protest

Maoist Young Communist League workers, seen in the photo above, dominated a corner meeting held by Maoist trade union in front of Kantipur Publications. Speakers in the program included Shalikram Jammarkattel, chairman of Maoist trade union, who spoke against the Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post newspapers and journalists working there. Journalists in the papers described act as an example of Maoist effort to intimidate the press. Branding this act as brazen Maoist intervention in the internal matter of the newspaper, reporters said they were not afraid of any such effort. Pic by Suraj Kunwar Read here about other updates on this topic.

By Deepak Adhikari

When an America lady recently asked me which the most unforgettable day in career was, I hastened to say that it was February 1, 2005.

On that ill-fated day, when I entered my office complex, army personnel greeted me instead of our security guards. In the evening, as deadline neared, army officers who did not have an iota of knowledge of journalism censored our news. That was definitely the nadir of my career. Continue reading Nepali Press Will Fight Against Maoists

Gyanendra, Challenging the Peoples' Verdict, Visits Kumari Ghar

Prime Minister and acting head of state Girija Prasad Koirala quizzes the palace officials as to why Gyanendra, the suspended king, went to observe Kumari, the living Goddess, without government permission.

As the country is increasingly unsure about the fate of elections that are scheduled for 22 November because of the Maoist behavior, suspended king and former autocrat Gyanendra yesterday evening went to observe Kumari, the living Goddess, like a thief, without government permission. With the mandate of the April Revolution of 2006, the government has been curtailing the political and cultural rights and role of the king. The prime minister, in capacity as the acting head of state, has been performing the duties of the head of the state.

[Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has ordered chief of the Nepali Army (NA) Rookmangud Katawal to pull out half of the NA personnel at Narayanhiti royal palace. detail here]

Following PM Koirala’s return after receiving blessings from Kumari in the capacity of head of state yesterday, the last day of Indra Jatra festival, King Gyanendra walked into the crowd at Basantapur and received tika from Shree Kumari, Shree Ganesh and Shree Bhairav. Gyanendra had reached Kumari Ghar at around 9:30 last night. Continue reading Gyanendra, Challenging the Peoples' Verdict, Visits Kumari Ghar

The Maoists and Press Freedom in Nepal: What Happened in Kantipur Yesterday

Maoists confiscate papers: Meanwhile, demonstrating their Stalinist nature, the Maoist cadres in Pokhara today disturbed the distribution of Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post. According to Dhruba Panthi, chief of Kantipur Publication’s regional office in Pokhara, a group of Maoist YCL cadres led by Maoist trade union’s Gandaki zonal coordinator Khagendra Kafle and Maoist district committee member Shanti Lamichhane confiscated copies of both newspapers. The same Maoist activists also confiscated 1200 copies of Kantipur and 300 copies of the Post from the office while they also confiscated 500 copies of Kantipur from the shop Gorkhapatra Baje and all copies from Joshi Pustak Pasal.

[Kantipur Publications regrets Maoist threat to close down newspapers, TV –read here
Govt won’t compromise press freedom: PM –read here]

Update (14:30 PM today): Going against a recent court order, a group of Unionists including some of those who were expelled is holding a corner meeting now outside Kantipur Complex while journalists are working or watching the meeting from the windows of the building. Some central Maoist trade union leaders and dozens of Maoist’s Young Communist League members are also participating in the meeting. Speaking at the program, Chairman of the Maoist’s All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF) Shalik Ram Jamkattel warned that their next target would be to shut down Kantipur Television. “Currently, the Publications alone has been shut down. [Kantipur] Television will also be shut down within four days,” he said. There is presence of riot police. Many reporters we talked to said they were not intimidated by the Maoist act. “We fought against the autocratic regime of Gyanednra and we always thought we had to face the Maoist communists,” said a reporter. “Now we are facing the autocratic aspirations of the Maoist communists. This is not China and this is not mid 20th century. Maoists will not succeed here.”

kantipur vehicle vandalized

Maoist unionists in Kantipur vandalized a vehicle belonging to Kantipur Publications MD Kailash Sirohiya. The driver of the vehicle inspects the damage.

The Maoist unionist workers of Kantipur Publications, acting directly under the Maoist leadership, tried yesterday evening to physically assault the high level officials of Kantipur Publications, vandalized the printing press, smashed the windscreen of a newspaper vehicle and tried to burn tires and newspaper copies inside the office complex in Tinkune, Kathmandu. It was a brazen attack on the free press and has been condemned widely by various sections of society: from a senior cabinet minister to the key political leaders of ruling parties, from editor’s alliance to reporters’ groups. Here is the detail of what happened yesterday evening in Kantipur Complex that houses the offices of the largest publishing company of Nepal:

By UWB Team (with reporting by Suraj Kunwar)
UWB condemns the Maoist attack on Kantipur Publications.

1. At around 7:30 PM, members of the Kantipur Publications branch of Maoist’s All Nepal Communication, Printing and Publications Workers’ Union (ANCPPWU) gathered in the Kantipur complex. They brought out two tires, newspaper copies and prepared to burn them. This act of the Union is against an interim order issued a few days ago by the Patan Appellate Court. The court had clearly instructed the Union not to stage any kind of protest activities in the office complex and not to disturb the printing and publications of the paper. [The unionists, ignoring the court order, attacked the printing press machine. Read about that later.]

2. As the Unionists were preparing to burn tires, reporters saw and decided to stop them from doing so. Reporters from both Kantipur daily and The Kathmandu Post daily went down from their offices on the fourth and fifth floors of the building respectively. Some staffs of the Publications called police. As reporters started protesting the burning of tires the situation because tense. An intense debate followed for about half an hour as two sides argued whether it was good to burn tires inside the office premise. Meanwhile, the Unionists, about 15-25, were shouting slogans against Kantipur Publications Managing Director Kailash Sirohiya. Continue reading The Maoists and Press Freedom in Nepal: What Happened in Kantipur Yesterday