Kathmandu journalist arrested for Facebook post
IPI Nepal Committee calls for charges to be dropped
KATHMANDU, Oct 3, 2013 – The International Press Institute (IPI)’s Nepal National Committee today urged Nepal’s government to refrain from applying the Electronic Transaction Act, 2008 in breach of fundamental press freedom principles, which the committee said would create an environment adverse to freedom of expression.
Police arrested Nepali journalist Dinesh Acharya, editor of the Share Bazar weekly, on Sept. 30 for an alleged violation of the Act after Acharya republished a news article from another online portal and shared the article on his Facebook page.
IPI Nepal National Committee Chairman Padma Singh Karki said: “The arrest of the journalist pursuant to the Act may curtail the essence of freedom of expression in the country and the government should be careful when enforcing such laws.”
Police reportedly arrested Acharya based on a complaint filed approximately two months ago by businessman Nirvan Chaudhary that information Acharya shared on Facebook damaged his reputation.
The information in question involved a news article that originally appeared on hamrakura.com, an online news portal published from Kathmandu. Share Bazar published the same article, citing the online portal as its source, and Acharya shared the article on his Facebook timeline.
Karki said that some provisions in the Electronic Transaction Act, 2008 are very ambiguous and leave room for subjective interpretation. He also argued that the government should have clarified the ambiguous provisions before implementing the Act.
Speaking on behalf of IPI’s Nepal National Committee, Karki said that Acharya’s arrest ran counter to the established notion of freedom of expression. Urging the government to uphold international standards, he called for all charges against Acharya to be dropped immediately.
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IPI Nepal National Committee