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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Nepal reporters in Maoist protest
By Sushil Sharma
BBC correspondent in Kathmandu

World Press Freedom Day in Kathmandu
Nepal reporters mark World Press Freedom Day in May
Nepalese journalists have launched a protest campaign against what they call the excesses of Maoist rebels.

It follows the murder of a radio reporter and death threats against 10 other journalists.

The country's journalist federation called on the Maoists to apologise and warned the media might boycott reporting rebel news.

The move comes amid a Maoist blockade that is stopping supplies reaching the capital, Kathmandu.

Compensation call

The journalists' campaign against the rebels is their first in more than eight years of Maoist insurgency.

The Federation of Nepalese Journalists organised protest rallies across the country in which lawyers, professors and human rights activists also took part.

We are revolted by this barbaric murder
Reporters Without Borders

Leading newspapers on Thursday published special editorials to condemn the Maoist actions.

The murder of a reporter of state-owned radio in the western hill district, Dailekh, sparked off the campaign.

Dekendra Raj Thapa was killed last week, two months after the rebels abducted him.

Federation president, Taranath Dahal, said 10 other journalists in the western region had also received death threats.

In a rare open letter to the rebel leader, Prachanda, Mr Dahal urged him to publicly apologise for excesses against journalists and compensate victims.

He warned the media could boycott the rebels' news if attacks on journalists did not stop.

Amnesty International, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders have all condemned the rebels for killing the radio reporter and threatening the others.

The federation believes 16 journalists have been killed and dozens more threatened or abducted in the insurgency.

The Maoist rebels have been engaged in an armed struggle since 1996 to replace the monarchy with a communist republic.

About 9,000 people have died in violence between the rebels and security forces since then.


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