The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) – a constitutional anti-graft body of Nepal – has barred journalists from entering its office in Kathmandu for covering news on the appointment of former bureaucrat Lok Man Singh Karki as the head of CIAA on May 8.
The security personnel deputed at the gate of CIAA denied entrance of journalists into its office for reporting the appointment of former chief secretary of the Nepal government Karki citing 'no order from high-placed authority to allow journalists access to the office'.
With denial of access, the journalists reaching to collect the news had returned empty-handed. It may be noted that some civil society organizations, leaders and media fraternity have protested the move of appointing corruption-charged former royalist Karki to head the anti-graft body.
Karki was publicly criticized for his role to suppress the historical People's Movement in April 2006, which was succeeded in restoring democracy in the country. The appointment of a person who was involved in various scams in the past as the head of CIAA is a mockery of democracy.
'Barring journalists from entering the CIAA premises is a serious infringement of their right to collect news independently. It is quite a shameful act in open and democratic society since the ban curtails the people's right to know', said Freedom Forum Chairperson Taranath Dahal.
Freedom Forum condemns the incident and calls upon the Nepal government to respect journalists' right to freedom of expression and people's right to information. The Forum also cautions the CIAA authority to abide by the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press and free reporting, which is spectacular to expose wrongdoings of public agencies.