Editor's arrest criticised

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has criticised the arrest of Tikaram Rai, editor of the Nepali-language daily Aparanha. Mr. Rai was arrested in Kathmandu on a complaint from a senior police officer accused of bribery in a recent Aparanha article. Mr. Rai is being detained at a police station in Kathmandu, according to the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ). A police officer told AP that Mr. Rai could be held for up to 10 days for questioning.

Aparanha had recently reported that the police officer had received bribes for issuing driver's licences, pocketing some 16 million rupees (US$205,000), according to AFP news agency. The officer says that the report amounts to character assassination and filed a criminal complaint under Nepal's Public Offence Act, according to AP.

As a non-partisan organisation dedicated to the defence of press freedom worldwide, CPJ said it believed that no journalist should ever be imprisoned for his or her professional work. If an individual finds a particular article defamatory, then proper recourse should be sought through the civil courts.

CPJ said it was deeply concerned about the erosion of press freedom in Nepal. Journalists there are already vulnerable to arrest under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention and Control) Ordinance, known as TADO.

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