Cyber Bureau arrests journo for social media post

Kathmandu, April 30

The Cyber Bureau of Nepal Police has arrested journalist Deepak Pathak on the charge of violating some cyber laws, after he posted an ‘outspoken remark’ about some top leader of the ruling party.

Pathak was arrested from his residence at Jadibuti in Kathmandu today morning.

Senior Superintendent of Police Nabinda Aryal of the Cyber Bureau said Pathak was arrested on the basis of first information report filed against him.

“Two persons had filed a complaint about Pathak regarding his outspoken remarks about a top leader of the ruling party,” SSP Aryal said. He however did not reveal the name of the petitioners saying it might affect the investigation. We have just begun our investigation and will be able to say something on the case after a few days.

Pathak, who is also a board member of Radio Nepal, according to a police source, was close to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and had posted a damning opinion about Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Meanwhile, Kathmandu District Court has given permission for the police to investigate the case, remanding Pathak to two days in judicial custody.

Pathak has been charged under section 47 of the existing Electronic Transaction Act, for dealing with issues related to cyber crime, since the country still lacks a separate act.

The Electronic Transaction Act prohibits Nepalis from publishing or displaying content on social media that goes against public morality or decent behaviour or spreads hate or prejudice against anyone or jeopardises harmonious relations subsisting among peoples of different castes, tribes or communities.

Those found violating the act are liable to be slapped with a fine not exceeding Rs 1 lakh or with imprisonment not exceeding five years or both.

A few days ago, the bureau had also arrested a former Nepal government secretary Bhim Upadhyay on the charge of cyber crime using the same clause of the act, on the basis of four of his posts on facebook and twitter. Upadhyay was later released on bail of Rs 25,000.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 1, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.