Details

Nepal Orders ‘Investigation’ of Reporters Who Wrote About Dalai Lama

Tibetans living in Nepal honor the Dalai Lama on Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, 2010Lhuboom/RFA

Government authorities in Nepal have opened an investigation into three state-employed journalists who published a wire report about the recent stay in an Indian hospital of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

The move was undertaken at the request of China’s embassy in Kathmandu, Somnath Lamichhanne—a reporter for Rashtriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) and one of the three journalists now under scrutiny—told RFA’s Tibetan Service this week.

“Under pressure from the Chinese government, Nepal’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology Gokul Baskota has ordered an investigation into this matter, and three of our journalists are being questioned,” he said.

The report, a short news item saying that the Dalai Lama had been discharged from a hospital in Delhi after a short stay, was a story of “humanitarian interest” concerning a prominent world figure, Lamichhanne said.

“Unfortunately, we are now being criticized for acting against our country’s foreign policy and the One-China policy by disseminating this information,” Lamichhanne said, adding that he and his two colleagues, identified in media reports as Mohani Risal and Jivan Bhandari, have offered an explanation for their actions.

“However, the issue has not been resolved yet,” he said.

Also speaking to RFA, Dilliram Batarai—one of four members of a committee assigned by RSS chairman Harikar Adhikari (Shyamal) to conduct the inquiry—said the investigation is still under way, and that “no statements have yet been released.”

“RSS is a state-run news agency, however, and our investigation will be guided by Nepal’s relationship with China, by the One-China policy, and by Nepal’s foreign policy. So we report to higher authorities,” he said.

Nepal shares a long border with Tibet and is home to around 20,000 exiles who began arriving in 1959 when a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule forced Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama into exile in Dharamsala in India’s Himalayan foothills.

Nepal cites the One-China Policy and its strong ties with Beijing in cracking down on Tibetan community activities in the country, such as elections among the refugee community and birthday celebrations for the Dalai Lama.

Growing crackdown

Speaking to RFA, South Asia Director for Human Rights Watch Meenakshi Ganguly said that Nepal has recently experienced a growing crackdown on freedom of expression, along with proposals “that will further restrict speech.”

“At the same time, in an effort to appease China, Nepali authorities have already placed numerous restrictions on the rights of Tibetan refugees to organize peaceful protests or express themselves,” Ganguly said.

“It is shocking that the Nepal government should object even to reporting on the Dalai Lama’s health, and it exposes how the authorities can force the media to self-censor by caving in to Chinese demands,” he said.

“It doesn’t take an insider to understand that China is a major backstage player in all things Dalai Lama-related,” agreeda Himalayan historian and expert on the region, pointing to what he called a growing trend of censorship in Nepal.

“But the publishing of other issues, areas of Nepali domestic life that have no direct relation with Chinese influence, are also being affected,” he said.

Also speaking to RFA, Cedric Alviani—head of the East Asia office of the press freedoms watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF)—said that the three Nepali reporters under investigation had only been “doing their job by reporting news of interest for their readers.”

“RSF calls for an immediate hold on this investigation, [whose] obvious purpose is to intimidate reporters and create future self-censorship,” he said.

(Reported by Lhuboom and Tashi Wangchuk. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney)

Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

15 + 11 =

Related Article

Posted on: Saturday, May 4, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

Ethiopia Cautiously Embraces New Era of Press Freedom

Ethiopia’s historic strides toward democracy and openness have given journalists in the country hope for greater freedom to report the news

Posted on: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

Jailed Reuters Journalists Lose Final Appeal in Widely Condemned Myanmar Supreme Court Ruling

The journalists, who were awarded a Pulitzer Prize last week for their Rohingya exposé, were sentenced in September 2018 after a lengthy series of hearings and a trial. They were not present at Tuesday’s hearing in Naypyidaw

Posted on: Thursday, April 18, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

Authoritarian Leaders Fueled Hatred Toward Journalists Worldwide, Study Finds

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index report, conducted by Reporters Without Borders, said “authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media,” resulting in a “hatred of journalists” that has “degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear.”

Posted on: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

Myanmar Supreme Court Agrees to Rule on Reuters Journalists’ Appeal

Rights groups and diplomats have condemned the sentencing of the the reporters, saying their convictions have dealt a blow to freedom of the press in the developing democracy

Posted on: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

Turkmenistan Urged To Stop ‘Systematic Harassment’ Of Independent Journalists

Ranked 178th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index, Turkmenistan is a “black hole from which little news and information emerge and where the few independent journalists risk severe persecution,” the Paris-based media watchdog said

Top

Privacy & Cookies: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.
To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy more information

Privacy & Cookies: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.
To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy

Close