By murdering a journalist and threatening to kill 10 others, the Maoists have once again tried to establish themselves as terrorists. This action has also exposed their unreliable nature to the international community. Following the restoration of democracy, one area that saw vibrant growth was the mass media. But by attacking it, the Maoists have dared uproot the achievements of the popular 1990 movement.
Despite being sandwiched between increasing hostility from the Maoists and growing pressure from the government, journalists in districts across the country are doing their best. There may only be a few such dedicated journalists, but it is due to their responsible reporting on the nationwide rebellion that the urge for peace talks has become the national agenda. It is their reports that inform the international community and shape outside cooperation for peace talks.
But now the Maoists are talking about chopping off the hands of those who file these reports under such hostile and difficult circumstances. By making such an announcement, the Maoists have not only shown that they fear the media but also that they are not interested in talks. A force that is afraid of information cannot win national and international trust when it comes to peace as the sole agenda. Their campaign to wipe out the correspondents in the districts means that they would like to keep the information business under their control. This is essentially a totalitarian concept. The rebels have a slogan of accepting multiparty competition and giving shape to the capitalistic system. But quite contradictory to that statement is their strategy to displace journalists and make the media their slave.