The United Nations and the United States criticised on Monday a weekend attack by activists on a Nepali publishing house in which witnesses said it was ransacked and journalists were beaten.
About 50 activists, self-described supporters of Nepal's ruling Maoist party, came to the office of Himalmedia, publishers of the weekly English-language Nepali Times and other magazines, and broke windowpanes before beating staff on Sunday.
The activists said they were angry at critical coverage.
"This is a direct attack on free press and democracy," said Kunda Dixit, editor of the weekly.
Some staff received minor injuries, but no one was seriously hurt, he said.
The Maoists abandoned a decade-long civil war two years ago and lead a coalition government after emerging as the biggest political party in an April election.
But they are being criticised by rival political parties for continuing violence and intimidation despite joining the political mainstream.
The United States and the Nepal office of the U.N. human rights agency condemned the attack and urged authorities to investigate the incident.
"There is no justification for the use of violence and intimidation by any party or organisation in an attempt to control the media or threaten freedom of the press in Nepal," the U.S. embassy said in a statement.
The Maoist party, which has vowed to protect press freedom, said it would investigate.
Last Mod: 22 Aralık 2008, 15:43