KATHMANDU, Nov 13: Claiming that news reports published in the Nagarik and Republica dailies about corruption and irregularities at the state-owned Sajha Prakashan Sahakari Sanstha Limited (SPSSL) have defamed him, then chairman and general manager of SPSSL Dolindra Prasad Sharma recently filed a libel case against Nepal Republic Media (NRM) Private Limited, at Kathmandu District Court.
Sharma claimed that the dailies published their news reports with an intention of obstructing his reform plans at SPSSL and this had seriously damaged his personal reputation. Nagarik and Republica have been carrying reporting on corruption at the government-owned publishing house since the last two years.
Managing Director of NRM Pvt Ltd Binod Raj Gyawali, Editor-in-Chief of Nagarik Guna Raj Luitel, Editor of Republica Subhash Ghimire and reporter Bishnu Prasad Aryal have been named defendants in the lawsuit filed on September 25. A staffer from the district court visited the NRM office at Sundhara on Monday to serve the court notice.
Sharma, in his lawsuit, claimed that the two newspapers have published news reports with the ill intention of creating confusion in society although he had been working to reform the organization, and that the dailies had published more than 80 news items about him. He also claimed compensation of Rs 100 millions and litigation expenses of Rs 700,000.
Sharma filed the lawsuit just a few weeks after a libel case was filed by the NRM publisher and journalists, accusing him of publishing a book defaming them.
Managing Director of NRM Gyawali, Nagarik Editor-in-Chief Luitel, Republica reporter Aryal and Nagarik reporter Basanta Khadka had jointly filed the libel suit against Sharma at Kathmandu District Court in the last week of September.
Sharma, in his book ‘Badalbhitrako Gham’, accused them of publishing news reports against him after he did not give in to bargaining by the publisher and the journalists. In their lawsuit, the publisher and journalists at NRM have sought Rs 800 million in compensation for the loss they faced due to the insulting language in Sharma’s book. NRM has said Sharma’s lawsuit seems to have been filed in revenge since NRM had already filed a libel case against him. NRM also said that it will fight the case in court.