Editors demand probe into news removal by PM's aides

Published On: April 3, 2020 08:33 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 3: While taking strong exception to the move of deleting a news report published on a news website with the direct involvement of the prime minister's aides, a group of 21 editors of major print and online media has demanded a probe into the incident and action against the guilty.

Issuing a joint statement on Thursday, the editors have concluded that the act of deleting news published on www.kathmandupress.com purportedly by the Prime Minister's Information Technology Advisor Asgar Ali and his other key aides is a wrong act that goes against the spirit of the constitution.

The kathmandupress.com in a press statement earlier on Thursday said that the news that dealt with the involvement of high level government officials including Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister and Prime Minister's Chief Political Advisor was illegally deleted by the F1 Soft, which is the parent company of Shiran Technologies Private Limited.

The kathmandupress.com in the statement claimed 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 editors in the joint statement said that the involvement of the PM's IT aide, who is one of the shareholders of F1 Soft, in removing the news content from the website citing orders from the higher level had cast a serious doubt over the government.

The kathmandupress.com had run a news dealing with the involvement of the relatives of high officials in the procurement deal for the import of substandard medical equipment from China. As the editor of the website did not remove the news from the website despite repeated pressure, the news was later found to have been deleted from the website without the knowledge of the editor. "We want an investigation into those involved in this act against the constitution and punishment to the guilty behind this," the editors said in the joint statement.

The editors issuing the statement include Ameet Dhakal, Kosmos Bishwakarma, Kiran Nepal, Kunda Dixit, Krishna Jwala Devkota, Guna Raj Luitel, Purna Basnet, Prakash Rimal, Narayan Wagle, and Akhilesh Upadhyay. Prateek Pradhan, Prashant Aryal, Yubaraj Ghimire, Basant Basnet, Rajendra Dahal, Shiva Gaunle, Sudheer Sharma, Subhash Ghimire, Sanjeev Satgaiya and Hari Bahadur Thapa are also among the editors issuing the joint statement.

The editors have also expressed concerns over the recent recommendations made by the Press Council Nepal to shut down online portals in the name of regulating the online media. “This act may jeopardize press freedom,” they said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Nepal Press Union issuing a separate statement condemned the incident.

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