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 content. 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 furtherinformation contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950The IFJrepresents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries Findthe IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific Findthe IFJ on Facebook: