The Freedom Forum has been concerned over the recent war between the court and press.
The court and press entered the war path after the contempt of court case was filed at Biratnagar Appellate Court against the Nagarik daily, published by the National Republic Media, on December 21 over the news it published about Appellate Court's decision to release an accused involved in an abduction case.
President of Biratnagar chapter of Appellate Court Bar Association, Kumar Bhattarai, Morang Chapter president Devendra Koirala and Appellate Court Bar Association Sunsari chapter president Hemraj Pokhrel jointly filed a contempt of court case in which Nepal Republic Media Pvt. Ltd, its managing director, director, editor, and Nagarik's Biratnagar based reporter Khilanath Dhakal and Morang SSP Pradyumna Karki were named defendants.
In the meantime, taking up a contempt court application, the Biratnagar Appellate Court on December 22 ordered Dhakal and Superintendent of Police Pradyumna Karki to appear before the court within three days.
A division bench of Judges Kumar Chundal and Shiva Narayan Yadav also ordered Editor-in-Chief of Nagarik Narayan Wagle and the publisher to appear before the court within seven days.
This is very much serious and we are cautious that the recent development would not curtail the scope of freedom of press and expression in Nepal.
"Public scrutiny of the judicial authorities is the best guarantee for the fair justice system. Merit of court verdict is always the subject of public criticism otherwise it could lead to the situation where the court might also be autocratic in the administration of justice. Therefore, the court should also restrain patience and respect the criticism rendered to its works and verdicts," says Taranath Dahal, Chairman, Freedom Forum.
He added that the press should also not be that much vocal to the courts orders and proceedings in a superficial and partial manner. Consequently, it will not only create difficulty in the proceedings of the courts but also ruin the independence and importance of the court.
Freedom Forum is always for the harmony between the court and press with equal esteem and urges the concerned sides for the same.