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Editor arrested in Nepal over Facebook post

On September 30, 2013, the District Police in Kathmandu arrested the editor of the Share Bazaar weekly, Dinesh Acharya, over a complaint lodged by an industrialist. Industrialist Nirvan Chaudhary has accused the editor of "assassinating his character" through the Internet (specifically a post on Facebook).

Acharya had published a news story about Chaudhary in the June 23 edition of Share Bazaar, and also posted the story on Facebook.

Freedom Forum condemns the way in which Chaudhary and the police have opted to harass the journalist. It is not the place of the police administration to oversee the accusation of the character assassination, when a separate body, the Press Council Nepal, exists and is tasked with monitoring media content and journalists' code of conduct.

Similarly, if this is a case of defamation, the industrialist can approach the district court rather than the police. The arrest of the editor is therefore similar to treatment meted out to a criminal which is condemnable. Freedom Forum maintains that this case must be dealt with according to the information published in the weekly, rather than on Acharya's Facebook update. The matter should be treated as a civil defamation case, not criminal defamation, and in accordance with laws governing the publication of news, versus the Electronic Transaction Act which the police used to arrest Acharya.

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