Sikkim publisher faces criminal charge

IN Media Freedom | 01/01/2002
As a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of our colleagues around the world, CPJ condemns the cri

As a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of our colleagues around the world, CPJ condemns the criminal prosecution of Rajesh Bhattarai. CPJ believes that no journalist should be imprisoned for his or her work. In instances where a journalist has committed an error, the publication of an apology or clarification should be an adequate remedy. More serious cases, such as those involving allegations of defamation, may warrant legal action, but we believe even these cases should be resolved at the civil level. If authorities think that a journalist¿s work presents a serious threat to state security, the government should first prove that imminent harm is the likely result of a particular report. There seems to be no justification for Bhattarai¿s arrest fifteen months after his newspaper published a report that, while controversial, did not affect public order in any way.

CPJ calls on Sikkimese authorities to cease their unjust persecution of Rajesh Bhattarai. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We await your response.

Ann K. Cooper

Executive Director

cc: His Excellency Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister

Lal Krishna Advani, Home Minister

South Asian Journalists Association

American Society of Newspaper Editors

Amnesty International

Article 19 (United Kingdom)

Artikel 19 (The Netherlands)

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

Freedom Forum

Freedom House

Human Rights Watch

Index on Censorship

International Center for Journalists

International Federation of Journalists

International PEN

International Press Institute

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