Editors jointly condemn unauthorised removal of published content

KATHMANDU: Editors of various news outlets have jointly condemned the unauthorised removal of a published content from an online news portal.

The editors have drawn serious attention towards the role of Prime Minister's aide in removing a news content from the online news portal Kathmandu Press [kathmandupress.com] and Press Council's recommendation to close down some online portals.

Kathmandu Press had published a report stating there was an involvement of the relatives of high level officials of Government of Nepal in the expensive medical equipment procurement deal with China.

Issuing a joint statement, the editors have condemned the unauthorised intervention, which they have termed unconstitutional and directly affecting the freedom of expression and free press.

Prakash Rimal of The Himalayan Times, Akhilesh Upadhyaya (former editor of The Kathmandu Post), Ameet Dhakal of Setopati, Arun Baral of Online Khabar, Kosmos Biswokarma of Kathmandu Press, Kiran Nepal of Himal Khabar, Kunda Dixit of Nepali Times, Krishna Jwala Devkota of Naya Patrika, Gunaraj Luitel of Nagarik Dainik, Narayan Wagle (former editor of Kantipur), Purna Basnet of Nepal Khabar, Prateek Pradhan of Bahrakhari, Prashant Aryal of Kantipur Television, Yuvaraj Ghimire of Deshantar, Basanta Basnet of Nepal magazine, Rajendra Dahal of Shiksha monthly, Shiva Gaunle (former president, Centre for Investigative Journalism, Nepal), Sudheer Sharma of Kantipur, Subhash Ghimire of Republica, Sanjeev Satgainya of The Kathmandu Post, and Hari Bahadur Thapa of Annapurna Post expressed their dissent over the issue.

The online portal had released a statement of its own regarding the removal of the report, earlier today. The news outlet’s Chief Editor Kosmos Biswokarma, in the statement said, “On Wednesday morning, we received a call from Biswas Dhakal and Subhash Sharma from F1Soft, parent company of Shiran Technologies who manage the development and design of our website. They asked us to remove the report stating there’s immense pressure from ‘above’."

Prime Minister's IT advisor Asgar Ali being a partner in F1Soft has put the government in a questionable position, further reads the editors' statement.

The editors demand that investigation be started into the matter, which goes against the country's constitution, and action be initiated against the guilty.

Likewise, the editors expressed their dissatisfaction in Press Council recommending the closure of some online portals, which they have termed unconstitutional. "Such an act invites unjustified government intervention in the name of making the press accountable. Press freedom is bound to be compromised with such actions against the online media."

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