Media Release: Nepal
June 24, 2013
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
joins its affiliate, the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), in expressing
concern at the arrest of Susil Panta and Santosh Bhattarai of the news portal
According to information provided by the FNJ, the two
were arrested on June 20 and three days later, remanded to a week in police
custody after their news portal was identified as the source of a story on a
women’s college in the Dillibazar locality of Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu.
Pushkar Kandel, who operates another news portal,
extrakhabar.com, was arrested on June 10 after a complaint from the college
management and revealed under interrogation that he had taken the impugned
material from nepaliheadlines.com.
Kandel, Panta and Bhattarai face charges under Nepal’s
The FNJ has criticised the arrests and demanded that
the matter be referred to the Nepal Press Council, a body created by law to
deal in the first instance with grievances arising from published media
The Nepal Press Council has taken up the matter,
describing it as “unjust” to arrest the journalists when the first recourse
available under law has not been explored. A complaint could have been lodged
with the Council, said the statement, since it has been entrusted with the
specific mandate of monitoring the print and electronic media, and is also
doing all it can to “manage online journalism”.
The IFJ supports the FNJ’s demand that self-regulatory
processes supported by the media community be the first recourse in any matter
involving public grievances over media content.
“When criminal prosecution becomes the first recourse,
it could exert a chilling effect on the freedom that journalists enjoy to
inquire and report without fear or favour”, said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
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