Sunday, 1st March 2015

Journalists emphasise on the need for cyber-crime law

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From left to right: Crime correspondent at Nagarik Daily KP Dhungana, Internet Society Nepal President Babu Ram Aryal, Editor Umesh Shrestha, CBJS President Shishir Vaidya and former AIG Nabaraj Dhakal  at a discussion on 'Electronic Transaction Act - 2063, Clause 47' in New Baneshwar, Kathmandu, on Wednesday. (NN/Narayan Maharjan)Law enforcement agencies' arbitrary use of the Electronic Transactions Act, 2063 (2008), is victimizing media professionals, journalists said on Wednesday.

The police are taking discriminatory action against various online and social media activities misusing the act, they said at a discussion organised by Center for Professional Journalism Studies in Kathmandu on Wednesday.

Journalists and other participants discussed the predicament of police actions under the act. Participants also presented their working paper on clause 45 of ETA-2063 and freedom of expression.    

Journalist Umesh Shrestha said the police are making arrests for disseminating news online. Shrestha, who also operates the renowned blog, said the act has created a situation where journalists have to seek permission from the police department for disseminating news.

He emphasised on the need for a different law related to cyber-crime saying that ETA alone was not capable of addressing such issues.
Crime reporter and operator of KP Dhungana also said there was need for a separate act for cyber-crimes. Because of the act, while taking action, the police are showing no distinction between social crimes and other serious crimes, he said.

Dhungana said investigation of cyber crime in lieu of proper law tends to get prejudiced.
Baburam Aryal, president of Internet Society of Nepal, said there are problems in implementation of ETA-2063 as it deals with diverse issues.

Nabaraj Dhakal, retired Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Nepal Police, suggested that concerned parties should meet and find a solution after proper discussion on the matter.

The ETA came into being almost seven years ago.

According to police statistics, 48 complaints related to the act were filed in Fiscal Year 2012/13, 79 in FY 2012/13 and 24 in FY 2013/14.

In 2013, 58 complaints were regarding Facebook posts alone. 'Proper action' was taken against six of those cases and two arrests were made. No action was taken in 52 of the complaints, according to the statistics.

Using the act, police have taken action in incidents involving character assassination, threats, hacking, pornography, software theft and online credit card theft.



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