APRIL 4, 2005
Posted: April 7, 2005
Prabhakar Ghimire, Kantipur
Narayan Sharma, Kantipur
Khuman Singh Tamang, Kantipur
The three reporters for Kantipur, the country’s largest circulation Nepali-language daily, were called in for questioning by police in the southern city of Chitwan after their April 3 article, citing unnamed police sources, described the torching of trucks on a local highway during a Maoist blockade, according to a report in Kantipur.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Surendra Bahadar Shah summoned the three journalists April 4 for an interrogation that lasted an hour and a half, CPJ sources said. He pressured them repeatedly to reveal the names of the police sources for their article and threatened to take legal action against them if they refused, the sources said. The journalists were said to have refused to provide the names of their sources.
Chief District Officer Top Narayan Sharma told the reporters to alert local heads of security in the future when writing news items of such a “serious nature,” the Nepal News Web site reported. The officers asked the reporters to return in the evening for more questioning and again on the following morning with written statements.
The April 2 truck arsons were widely reported, including in the state media. CPJ sources said the police interrogation of the Kantipur journalists was interpreted as harassment intended to intimidate the reporters.
King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency on February 1, censoring the media in the name of national security. The government issued severely restrictive directives for the media prohibiting them from reporting any news that could be deemed against the spirit of the King’s leadership. Incidents of harassment and detention of journalists have been on the rise since then.