Issuing a joint statement on Thursday, the 21 editors of different newspapers and online news portals expressed serious concern toward the role of Asgar Ali, the information technology consultant to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, in removing the news content from www.kathmandupress.com.
The statement further reads, “Earlier, the Kathmandu Press had published a news content with headline ‘Involvement of relatives of high officials in procurement deal for the import of substandard medical equipment from China’.
Earlier today, Kathmandu Press had issued a press statement claiming that the news content was removed by F1 Soft, the parent company of Shiran Technologies Pvt Ltd owned by Ali and his business partner Biswas Dhakal.
The involvement of the PM’s IT aide, who is one of the shareholders of F1 Soft, in removing the news content of the Kathmandu Press as per the order from the higher level has created severe suspicion, according to the joint statement issued by editors today.
The editors argued that the incident is a sheer violation of constitutionally-guaranteed press freedom. They also demanded a fair probe into the case and take action against those involved.
The also expressed their concerns over the recent recommendation made recently by the Press Council to shut down the online portals in the name of regulating online media. “This act may jeopardize the press freedom,” they stated.