Freedom Forum has been concerned over cyber patrolling by Nepal police over people's views and comments on social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter and Youtube).
It is learnt from the confidential source that complaints were filed against as many as 100 persons in the recent days by Press Council Nepal, seeking investigation over them. As a result, two persons have been arrested by the Police today (Wednesday) itself. However, Cyber Crime Cell of Nepal Police has been denying to disclose the number of complaints and accused details to FF.
According to media reports, Metropolitan Police Crime Division, Kathmandu, arrested Binod Gautam from Teku, Kathmandu and Bishnu Dhakal from Sunwal, Nawalparasi over the Council's complaint that they issued death threat to the office bearers at Press Council.
The arrest came after the dispute erupted between a program presenter Rabi Lamichhane at News 24 Television and office bearers of Press Council. The arrested ones are the people speaking for Lamichhane, and against Council's initiation on investigating Lamichhane's citizenship status. The Council has argued that Lamichhane is a US passport holder, while Lamichhane declared that he quit the US passport.
Lamichhane has been running a TV program named 'Sidhakura Janatasanga (Direct Talk to People) for some three years.
In this connection, FF is seriously concerned over Police move to arrest senior journalist Keshav Ghimire from Dharan, a city in the east of Nepal. Also the Editor for Dharan based Fast Time daily, Ghimire had expressed his view regarding the same in the Facebook, for which he is learnt to have been charged under cyber crime by the Press Council itself. However, FF has not found his status imposing any kind of threat against Council or its official. Editor Ghimire is hiding from the workplace due to police harassment.
For long, FF has been continuously arguing that Nepal Police has used Electronic Transaction Act to regulate the online expression, which however was brought for promoting fair electronic transaction. It is not to regulate people's expression online. FF is also worried why the media regulatory body, Press Council, was itself chasing the citizens over FoE online, while it can resort to other laws on defamation and libel and obscenity, hate speech, safety, and monitor the code of ethics if it needs.
FF is keenly monitoring the unfolding incidents that tamper the FoE online.
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