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Call for Dixit’s release

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
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ex prez yadav

Former President Ram Baran Yadav after meeting journalist Kanak Mani Dixit at Bir Hospital on Tuesday. Photo: Bikram Rai

Two international organisations of journalists have asked the authorities in Nepal to immediately release journalist Kanak Mani Dixit, saying ‘the circumstances of his arrest are questionable’ and ‘a transparent investigation into the incident is needed’.

In separate press statements on Tuesday, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the incident raised serious concerns over the state of press freedom in Nepal.

The IFJ said: “The arrest of Kanak Mani Dixit raises serious concerns for the statement of freedom of expression in Nepal. The circumstances of Dixit’s arrest are questionable, raising questions about proper judicial procedure. The IFJ urges the Government of Nepal to immediately release Dixit and conduct a transparent investigation into the arrest and the CIAA’s allegations.”

The CPJ’s Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz said: “Kanak Mani Dixit is a well-respected voice of responsible political discourse in Nepal, and should not be treated as a common criminal. We call on Nepalese authorities to release Dixit immediately.”

In another statement on Tuesday, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-Asia) called on the Nepal government to ‘issue a clear, transparent and unequivocal statement on his arrest, arrange for his immediate release, and ensure that he receives all due process rights as enshrined in the constitution of Nepal and international human rights standards’.

“Dixit’s arrest is a worrying development and a setback for freedom of expression in Nepal”, said Evelyn Balais-Serrano, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA. “The manner and timing of his arrest seems to indicate this is a case of personal vendetta and intimidation tactics.”

Dixit, co-publisher of Himalmedia, was arrested by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on last Friday on the charges of ‘amassing disproportionate wealth’ as the Chair of Sajha Yatayat, a public transport company. But the Nepali media, not just Himalmedia, has raised questions over the kind of accusations against him and the manner in which he was detained.

Dixit, also a human rights activist, had criticised the appointment of Karki as the CIAA Chair as the latter was found guilty of suppressing people’s uprising in 2006 by an independent commission. The Himalmedia chapter of Federation of Nepalese Journalists has said that Dixit’s arrest was a vengeful act by the CIAA.

Meanwhile, World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum on Tuesday expressed serious concern at the detention of journalist and publisher Dixit.

In a letter to Prime Minister KP Oli, WAN-IFRA President Tomas Brunegård and the Forum’s President Marcelo Rech said: “We respectfully call on you to take all possible steps to ensure that the detention order is immediately rescinded and that the CIAA investigation is halted. Given the personal nature of this action, we urge you to appoint an independent inquiry into the conduct of the CIAA and its investigation.”

Dixit, who is now suffering from high blood pressure, is now in the Intensive Care Unit of Bir Hospital.  Former President Ram Baran Yadav on Tuesday met him in the hospital and enquired about his health condition.

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2 Responses to “Call for Dixit’s release”

  1. Deepak on Says:

    Corruption and press freedom are two different matter.

  2. S Blair on Says:

    Nepal needs those who tell truth to power. Thank you Kanak.

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