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IFJ condemns Nepalese govt for threatning local journalists

Written by: Staff
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Kathmandu, Mar 16 (UNI) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the Nepalese government's threat to take action against local journalists who report on the Maoist rebels in Nepal, adn urged King Gyanendra to return the nation to full democracy.

''The government of Nepal must understand that reporting the news of the day is not a crime,'' IFJ president Christopher Warren said in a statement today.

''The government will treat anyone publishing and writing news about the Maoists as their accomplices, and will deal with them accordingly,'' the Home Minister was reported as saying in the local media.

The announcement by the government came two days before the planned blockade of the capital Kathmandu, by Maoist rebels on March 14. The Maoists have also called for a nation-wide strike from April 3.

On March 13, Ministers from the government again demonstrated their tight control over the media when they barred local journalists from a meeting between business leaders and government officials in Birgunj, the IFJ said.

Mr Warren condemned these actions by the Nepalese government and police saying, ''We will continue to demand the Nepalese authorities to re-institute the people's fundamental rights, including the right to freedom of expression and association.'' UNI XC AK RN1824

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