Journalist bodies condemn CJ orderNational and international journalist bodies have condemned an order by Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli, instructing the Press Council Nepal to ensure that Kantipur daily refrains from publishing any further reports criticising him.
National and international journalist bodies have condemned an order by Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli, instructing the Press Council Nepal to ensure that Kantipur daily refrains from publishing any further reports criticising him.
The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) on Wednesday the interim order issued by the Supreme Court on a contempt of court case against Kantipur daily is against the spirit of the constitution and freedom of expression and urged the apex court to correct it.
In a statement on Wednesday, the umbrella body of journalists in Nepal has categorically stated that any news published or broadcast in any media cannot be an issue of contempt of court.
Stating that any attempts to impose pre-censorship on the media by any state bodies from publishing and broadcasting news will be unacceptable, the FNJ said it will firmly stand against such restrictions.
“We will never accept pre-censorship. We always stand firmly against such restrictions on the press,” reads the federation’s statement.
“The Constitution of Nepal 2015 has ensured a complete press freedom. We urge Supreme Court to correct its order on media probe on the news reports published in Kantipur daily as it is against the spirit of constitutional of constitution and against press freedom,” the press release issued by FNJ reads.
The FNJ also expressed its confidence about the commitment of journalists and media houses in abiding by media ethics and professional security of journalists, and editorial independence.
It said that it firmly stands in favour of democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of press. “The media have the constitutional rights to publish or not to publish any news materials,” it said.
Also on Wednesday, the Press Council Nepal, an autonomous regulatory body, said any efforts that would curb the press freedom are unacceptable. “Council is not involved in any activities that would limit freedom of speech and press,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has also condemned CJ Parajuli’s move, instructing the Press Council Nepal to ensure that Kantipur daily refrains from publishing any further reports criticising him.
“The gag order clearly constitutes a misuse of the judicial apparatus for personal ends and a violation of a fundamental press freedom principle,” RSF said in a statement posted on its official website.
Chief Justice Parajuli issued the interim order on February 25 when he heard a contempt of court complaint against Kantipur Publications Chairman and Managing Director Kailash Sirohiya, Director Swastika Sirohiya, Kantipur daily’s Editor-in-Chief Sudheer Sharma and reporter Krishna Gyawali. The complaint was prompted by a series of Kantipur daily articles drawing attention to the different dates of birth that Parajuli has given in several official documents. The fact that the chief justice heard the case himself was a clear sign of a desire to take revenge on the newspaper, the RSF said.
“It shouldn’t be necessary to remind a chief justice that you cannot be judge and party at the same time,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “This is a completely unacceptable case of prior censorship that could have dire consequences for media freedom if it sets a legal precedent. We urge Nepal’s parliamentarians to consider an impeachment motion if the chief justice does not rescind this decision at once.”
SC summons Kantipur publishers, editor, reporter
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a summon notice to Kantipur on a contempt of court case. In the notice, the apex court has ordered Chairman and Managing Director of Kantipur Publications Kailash Sirohiya, Director Swastika Sirohiya, Kantipur daily Editor-in-Chief Sudheer Sharma and journalist Krishna Gyawali to appear in person before the court within 72 hours of receiving the order.
Dr KC presses for CJ’s impeachment
Dr Govinda KC on Wednesday demanded impeachment of Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli, warning of another round of hunger strike against anomalies of the chief of Supreme Court.
“We are determined to bring down CJ Parajuli from his position and make him accountable to his misdeeds and criminal activities including corruption, being pro-mafia, seeking vengeance and hijacking press freedom,” Dr KC said in a press statement on Wednesday. “I will stage another hunger strike if he [CJ Parajuli] fails to resign or an impeachment case is not filed against him.”
Dr KC’s statement follows his failed bid to obtain details of the character certificate of CJ Parajuli that remains missing from a set of documents he had submitted while getting admission in a university and at the time of his appointment as justice. According to Dr KC, they had asked CJ Parajuli, through his personal secretariat, to provide them the details of this character certificate. “However, we were denied any information regarding the document. This has only heightened our suspicion that CJ Parajuli’s admission to the university and his appointment as justice is illegal,” said Dr KC. “As a public office bearer CJ Parajuli does not have the right to hide such sensitive information from the public.”