Chief editor and publisher of Khojtalas weekly and www.khojtalas.com (an online news portal) Raju Basnet was detained by security official for publishing a news on July 29 in Lalitpur. Lalitpur lies in Province 3 of Nepal.
Freedom Forum's representative Ashok Dahal reported that, Police Range Office Jawalakhel arrested editor Basnet following complaints from the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaaders from his home on Sunday at morning 7:30 am.
According to Dahal, Editor Basnet (from Police detention) said that the police also warned him of filing cybercrime and defamation case for news which had exposed ruling NCP leader's collusion with land mafias to sell the 25 ropani lands of Harishaddhi Brick Kiln factory. The leaders and their aides had pressurized the land revenue office for selling the land.
The news published on Khojtalas weekly on July 27 (Friday) was also published on Khojtalas online portal.
Local journalists also reached the police station seeking reason behind his detention. Some journalists claimed that though few other newspaper also published the same news story, but the police targeted only Basnet because Khojtalas weekly and online were critical to the government’s activities.
Later, Journalist Basnet was released after 5 hours reasoning the case will be within jurisdiction of Press Council.
Freedom Forum condemns the incident as it is sheer violation of press freedom. Journalists' right to free reporting and right to information is constitutionally guaranteed, thus security body's intimidation is intolerable. Hence, FF strongly urges the concerned authority to take action against the culprit and ensure justice as well as safety to the working journalists.
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