SPJ Calls on Nepali Government to Reaffirm Commitment to Free Press

Prominent organization of American professional Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), expresses deep concern over the recent arrest of Kailash Sirohiya, the esteemed publisher of Nepal’s leading newspaper, The Kantipur Daily. While official charges involve discrepancies in Mr. Sirohiya’s citizenship card, SPJ echoes the concerns raised by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) that the arrest appears to be a vindictive response to critical reporting.

“We recently heard that Kailash Sirohiya, the publisher of Nepal’s leading newspaper the Kantipur Daily, was arrested at the request of the country’s home minister. Apparently, the home minister was the subject of a series of investigative pieces,” said Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, SPJ National President, in a statement.

She added, “While the official charges were reported to be dealing with discrepancies in Sirohiya’s identity card, we join the Federation of Nepali Journalists in questioning the actual motives behind the arrest. The FNJ said the arrest casts aspersions on the entire news gathering sector. They added that the arrest of Sirohiya appears vindictive in nature.”

“We hope the Nepali government will quickly and fairly conclude its investigation. In the meantime, we call on the government to not only release Kailash Sirohiya while this investigation takes place but to also reaffirm its commitment to a free and unfettered press,” said Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, SPJ National President.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is the oldest organization representing journalists in the United States, established on April 17, 1909. The mission of SPJ is to promote and defend freedom of speech and freedom of the press; encourage high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism; and promote and support diversity in journalism. SPJ is also the voice of journalists across the world.