KATHMANDU, Sept 12: Police have arrested a journalist on charge of character assassination after he posted a news report on an online platform.
Editor of the vernacular Khojtalas Weekly and Khojtalasa.com Raju Basnet was arrested Monday morning from his residence in Lalitpur on the charge of publishing a news report on Khojtalas.com, the online portal of Khojtalas Weekly. The report had already been published in Dristi Weekly.
The report exposed an attempt to transfer the ownership of land owned by Harisiddhi Brick Industries in Lalitpur to some private individuals, allegedly with the involvement of Maoist lawmaker Pampha Bhusal and some other leaders of the party.
Police arrested Basnet following an order from Kathmandu District Court in response to a writ petition filed by one Sushil Khanal, alleging that Basnet had subjected him to character assassination through the report.
The court has given permission to keep Basnet in judicial custody for four days. Metropolitan Police Range Office, Lalitpur said Basnet will be kept in judicial custody for the four days for further investigations.
The media fraternity has taken strong exception to the arrest, calling it a move to harass journalists by invoking a cyber crime law provisioned under the Electronic Transaction Act.
Media rights activists have expressed concern that such misuse of legal provisions could seriously undermine press freedom.