Nepal Investment Bank moves Press Council against Arthik Abhiyan

Kathmandu, June 21

The top management of Nepal Investment Bank Ltd has filed a complaint before the Press Council accusing the business daily Arthik Abhiyan of publishing a number of defamatory stories to tarnish the image of the bank, which happens to be one of the country’s largest banking and financial institutions.

NIBL’s Chief Executive Officer Jyoti Prakash Pandey lodged a complaint accompanied by factual evidences at the Press Council and sought legal remedies, as well as stern action, against the newspaper for its attempts to malign the reputation of the bank and its management.

The complaint pointed out that the daily published seven stories and a cartoon in its editions with the specific motive of tarnishing the social as well as professional image of the institution and its officials.

The complaint stated that in doing so the newspaper violated the defamation and slander laws of the country. “In addition, the newspaper violated the code of journalistic ethics by refusing to publish the bank’s rebuttal submitted to the daily’s editor by NIBL’s Chairman Prithvi Bahadur Pandey on June 10,” it said.

According to the complaint, the daily published a story titled, Who owns the bullets in bank locker: Lama or Pandey?, on March 17 with the sole motive of linking the incident with the surname of the bank’s chairman Prithvi Bahadur Pandey and CEO Jyoti Prakash Pandey.

In doing so the daily twisted the facts related to the case and brought in the name Pandey without any basis.

“As per the existing laws, the banks have no right to check the locker users’ bags and see what valuables they are carrying owing to privacy and confidentiality clauses,” the complaint pointed out.

The complaint also said that the newspaper carried out a concerted malicious campaign against the bank and its management by falsely implicating them in various developments and issues in the country.

In this context it cited the stories with their headlines and described them as fake and motivated.

“The fact that the campaign against the bank and its officers was motivated can be proved by the fact that the daily failed to publish the rejoinders and rebuttals issued by the bank and the top management.

In doing so the daily violated the basic tenets of journalism where versions of all the aggrieved parties mentioned in the news item are given enough space in the newspaper,” it added.

The complaint said that as recently as June 5 the daily published yet another malicious story referring to the NRB’s inspection and CIAA’s investigation, “The facts were distorted to misinform the general public.

It is a well known fact that the NRB conducts regular inspection and monitoring of banking institutions,” it said, adding that the daily also harmed the right to privacy by publishing the bank’s chairman’s name linking him to the alleged CIAA probe.

In its complaint the Bank requested the Press Council to order Arthik Abhiyan daily to publish its rebuttal in the newspaper at the earliest. “NIBL also wants an immediate answer from the daily for publishing such fake as well biased stories.”

As per the Press Council Act-1992, NPC which has been established for the development and promotion of healthy, independent and responsible journalism by way of maintaining the highest professional ethics of journalism, shall make a recommendation to the body concerned to suspend from the said party the facilities to be provided by the government, for a certain period and to suspend the press pass of such party if that party holds such a pass.

PC pulls up daily

KATHMANDU: The Press Council of Nepal on Tuesday directed Arthik Abhiyan and its editor to formally publish the rebuttal issued by Nepal Investment Bank Limited and its top management.

Responding to a complaint submitted by NIBL Chairman Prithvi Bahadur Pandey on Sunday, the Council also gave the business daily a week’s time to come up with evidences to substantiate the allegations made in its news stories against the bank and its executives.

The council sought to know why the rebuttal was not published by the business daily and directed its editor to do the same without any delay.