Reporters Without Borders today condemned the burning of newspapers and magazines by members of the Madheshi Student Front in Janakpur (southern Nepal) on 21 July and its threat to take further violence if the media did not report on the Madheshi community’s problems.
"How can anyone hope to persuade the media to be interested in a cause by physically attacking it?" the worldwide press freedom organisation asked, calling on Madheshi groups to stop such action.
Members of the Front, which is affiliated to the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum, attacked a delivery truck in the market-place in Janakpur and burned copies it was carrying of the dailies Kathmandu Post and Kantipur, the weekly Saptahik and other papers and magazines. They smashed the truck’s windows and then attacked a newsagent’s shop. Police were present but did not intervene for fear of being accused of violating human rights.
The Front’s chairman told the Kathmandu Post that the attacks were because the press was not reporting on discrimination against Madheshis, a low caste making up about a third of the country’s population. He said the attack was a first warning to the press.