Libel suit filed against journalist

A journalist from Kuensel newspaper has been charged for offence of libel after she posted on Facebook about a woman battering her six-year-old stepdaughter in Tsirang. The woman lodged the complaint to the police the  next day.

The case was forwarded to Tsirang court yesterday and an arrest warrant was issued against the journalist. However, the journalist has sought bail.

Talking to Business Bhutan, the officer in-charge of Tsirang police station, Captain Dorji Khandu said that after the complaint was lodged against the journalist by the child’s stepmother, National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC), Respect Educate Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW) and police carried an investigation.

The officer said that the woman feels the allegation is wrong and has defamed her.

According to section 320 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of libel if the defendant defames another person through means of writing, drawing, or photographing.

The offence is graded as a petty misdemeanor and the offender is liable to pay compensation to the aggrieved party for a minimum of one month and maximum of three years calculated in accordance with the daily minimum national wage rate if the libel includes any matter other than murder, armed robbery, terrorism or treason.

Meanwhile, the journalist said she does not want to comment on the issue since the case is still in the court.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu