KATHMANDU, May 17: The US has expressed its concern over the government’s move to probe three journalists working with the national news agency over the dissemination of a news item regarding exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama.
A US embassy spokesperson in Kathmandu said they were surprised to see the government restricting people’s rights to a free flow of information just because ‘a foreign government’ was not comfortable with the news. “We were surprised to see that the government of Nepal would try to restrict Nepali citizens’ right to a free media, and do so because a foreign government expressed ‘sensitivities,’ said the spokesperson.
The remarks by the US mission come amid news reports that the Ministry of Communications has sought clarification from three journalists –Mohani Risal, Somnath Lamichhane and Jeevan Bhandari— for translating and disseminating a wire report about Tibetan leader Dalai Lama being discharged from hospital. The journalists have already submitted their clarifications.
Communications minister Gokul Banskota has publicly said that dissemination of news on such a sensitive issue especially when President Bidya Bhandari was on a state visit to China was irresponsible. Sources said Minister Banskota had ordered the probe after the Chinese side expressed concerns over dissemination of the news.