In the last week of December, many newspapers in Nepal kept their editorial space blank to protest against attacks on the offices of Himal Media. On December 21 the offices of Nepal's biggest newspaper publishing house was vandalized, allegedly by workers of the Nepal's ruling party cpn (m). Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times, and 12 other staff members of Himal Media were injured in the attack. The attackers were demanding the reinstatement of recently-sacked Maoist-affiliated employees.
Dixit, however, believes that the attack was not a labour issue. "This is a press freedom issue," he said. In October offices of the Terai Times in Janakpur in eastern Nepal were vandalized and the staff assaulted following the publication of an article suggesting that the Young Communist League, youth wing of the cpn-m, was providing protection to a prostitution racket.
Nepal's Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda has denied any role in the December attack. He said that the attack was by "immoral agents who had infiltrated the ranks of the Maoists. Our party is struggling to get rid of these elements." But Salikram Jammarkattel, a cpn-m member of Nepal's parliament, said Himal Media had assaulted his trade union supporters and that they had retaliated in "self defence".
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