New York, August 26, 2005 The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Minister for Information and Communication Tanka Dhakal’s confirmation yesterday that the government has initiated legal action against Kantipur Publications following the publication of an allegedly “objectionable” cartoon.
Dhakal told a news conference in Kathmandu “The government action has begun. You will know the details once we reach a conclusion on what should be done,” Kantipur reported. The minister also called a cartoon that ran on the front pages of the leading daily Kantipur and its sister English-language publication the Kathmandu Post “objectionable and stinking.” The political cartoon depicted the constitutional monarchy as a dead animal.
The editors of Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post, and the director of Kantipur Publications, which owns both publications, were summoned to a meeting with the Kathmandu chief district officer on August 22. Soon after the meeting the editors learned from sources that police were preparing to arrest them.
“The government’s initiation of legal action against the country’s leading newspaper group is a disturbing development for the free press in Nepal and for the international community,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “We call on the government to stop any and all legal action against our colleagues at Kantipur Publications.”