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Anti-corruption campaigner arrested for abusing journalists online

FF is concerned over both verbal abuses against journalists by anti-corruption campaigner Gyanendra Shahi and his subsequent arrest for online abuse.

Shahi, who has been continuously speaking against corrupt practices deepening at various levels of government and political atmosphere for some years, had used foul words on journalists on Facebook for not covering his program. The program was organized on May 1 in Surkhet which was not attended by a single journalist. Surkhet lies in Karnali Province.

Following the use of foul words anti-corruption campaigner Shahi spoke against journalists,  a written complaint was filed at Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, through District Police Office, by the Surkhet chapter president of Federation of Nepali Journalists, Durga Thapa, and FNJ State Committee president, Ganesh Kanchan Bharati. Based on it, police arrested Shahi and initiated a cybercrime case against him.

FF condemns the incident as a complaint against Shahi should not have been filed through the Electronic Transaction Act. Rather, the journalists, in case of their defamation, could seek justice through law on civil offense.

Hence, FF urges local branch of FNJ to withdraw the case. On the other side, Shahi also should apologize for hate speech through Facebook. Also, FF urges the police to immediately release Shahi. Defamation case must not be criminalized.

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