Journalists Bhandari, Bhatta arrested

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The District Police Office (DPO) Kanchanpur Saturday arrested district-based journalists Khem Bhandari and Ganesh Dutta Bhatta in what is violation of press freedom.

The DPO, Kanchanpur said that Bhandari, the publisher and editor of the Bhimduttanagar-based Manaskhanda Daily and Bhatta, executive editor with the same daily, were arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by the family of Puja Nath and Kanchan Nath of Shuklaphanta Municipality who are presently in police detention.

The Daily few days ago published news about the arrest of Puja and Kanchan and the news report stated that they had been detained by the police for creating noise disturbance in public on alcoholic stupor and they were to be tried under the Public Offence Act.

Khemraj Nath, the father of Kanchan and brother of Puja, reached DPO with complaint against the Daily for ‘hurting’ social life of his daughter and sister by continuously disseminating news about their arrest.

The Nath family has sought an action against the Daily under the Public Offence Act, according to DPO, Kanchanpur spokesperson Deputy Superintendent of Police Bhim Dahal. Khemraj claimed that his sister’s engagement could not take place due to the news report carried by the Daily.

Bhandari is the former chair of Minimum Wages Fixation Committee and currently he operates the Bhimduttanagar-based Radio Mahakali as well.

FNJ objects

The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) has termed the arrest a contravention of the freedom of the press and expression.

A press release issued by FNJ general secretary Ujir Magar today states that the government has turned to autocratic ways by arresting the editor and the executive editor leading to the closure of the newspaper and full curtailment of the independent press.

FNJ, Kanchanpur chapter has also expressed its concern over the arrest of journalists just for writing the news, seeking their immediate release.

All journalists based in Kanchanpur have decided to organize protest programmes including sit-in at the bodies concerned until the two journalists are released. RSS