New Delhi, April 23 — Editors and media figures as well as intellectuals and scholars from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, UK, US, Australia and Sri Lanka have called for the release of Himal editor and prominent Nepali journalist Kanak Mani Dixit who was arrested yesterday in Katmandu by anti-graft officials.The following is the text of the statement:It is with deep concern that we have learned of the arrest today of Kanak Mani Dixit, the widely respected founder-editor of Himal Media and a courageous voice for transparency, freedom of expression and democratic rights in Nepal and across South Asia. The charges are related to alleged corruption but Kanak Dixit says it is part of a vendetta pursued against him by people in Government.
We have known Kanak Dixit as a true professional, human rights defender and energetic journalist whose credentials are built on robust research and tremendous courage. Himal Media, a pioneer in South Asia journalism, has published Himal South Asia,Asia, Nepali Times and Himal Kharar Patrika (in the Nepali language). He has written extensively for international media including leading newspapers in India&and is chairman of Sajha Yatayat, a state run transportation company, which he has been turning around from a loss-making entity.Kanak Dixit’s detention comes at a time of increased pressure on free media across South Asia. We call upon all national and international media organisations, individual journalists and editors, defenders of media under pressure, on those who believe in the freedom of expression, to seek Kanak Dixit’s immediate release and a fair and transparent trial, free of bias.We call upon the Government of Nepal to issue a transparent and unequivocal statement on his detention for we are deeply concerned about his safety and rights. We condemn all forms of pressure tactics on editors like him and other courageous media figures such as Mahfuz Anam of the Daily Star in Dhaka, who is facing over 80 cases of sedition and libel in Bangladeshi courts, and other media persons who are committed to the rule of law and justice.Sanjoy Narayan, Editor, The Hindustan Times, new DelhiRajdeep Sardesai, Chief Editor, India Today TV Group, New DelhiSiddharth Varadarajan, Founder Editor, The Wire, New DelhiTN Ninan, Chairman, Business Standard Pvt Ltd, New DelhiJames Astill, Political Editor, The EconomistMaja Daruwala, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New DelhiSevanti Ninan, editor, The Hoot, New DelhiSalil Tripathi, Journalist and Author, LondonImtiaz Ahmed, Executive Director, RCSS, ColomboMahfuz Anam, Editor, The Daily Star, DhakaSara Hossein, Lawyer, Bangladesh Supreme CourtZafar Sobhan, Editor, Dhaka TribuneAfsan Chowdhury, Senior Journalist, BangladeshDr. Naila Zaman Khan, Professor of Child Neurology and Development, BangladeshLubna Mariam, Cultural activist, BangladeshKalpana Sharma, independent journalist, MumbaiSanjib Baruah, Professor of Political Studies, Bard College, New York, USBina D’Costa, Australian National UniversityPradip Phanjoubam, Editor, Imphal Free PressKamayani Bali Mahabal, Independent Journalist , MumbaiPatricia Mukhim, Editor, The Shillong TimesSeema Mustafa, Editor, The Citizen, New DelhiLalita Panicker, Senior Associate Editor, The Hindustan Times, New DelhiLaxmi Murthy, Consulting Editor, Himal SouthasianSeema Guha, senior journalist (freelance), New DelhiSangeeta Barooah Pisharoty, The Wire, New DelhiAruni Kashyap, Writer and Asst Professor of English, Ashoka University, HaryanaDr. Xonzoi Barbora, TISS, GuwahatiDr. Sanjeeb Kakoty, Associate Professor, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Management ShillongDr. Anjuman Ara Begum, Forum-Asia, KatnmanduSanjoy Hazarika, independent columnist, New DelhiGeeta Seshu, Journalist, Mumbai