New Delhi: Prominent journalists, activists and scholars from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, the US and other countries have urged the Nepal government to release well-known journalist, Himal editor Kanak Mani Dixit, saying he was a courageous voice for transparency and freedom of expression in Nepal and across South Asia.
"It is with deep concern that we have learned of the arrest 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," said a statement jointly issued by the journalists, activists and scholars from the countries, as well as Australia, the UK and Sri Lanka.
The statement says: "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. Kanak Dixit's detention comes at a time of increased pressure on free media across South Asia."
The activists and journalists have also urged national and international media organisations to seek Mr 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," said the statement.
"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 80 cases of sedition and libel in Bangladeshi courts, as well as other media persons who are committed to the rule of law and justice," added the statement.
Nepal's anti-graft body on Friday arrested Mr Dixit from his Lalitpur-based residence over the alleged charges of corruption case and accumulation of property through the illegal way.