Protests as Journalists are Arrested on Criminal Charges in Nepal

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,, was arrested on June 10 after a complaint from the college

management and revealed under interrogation that he had taken the impugned

material from

Kandel, Panta and Bhattarai face charges under Nepal’s

cyber-crime law.

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.

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950


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