A top educational enterprise from Kathmandu has questioned the veracity of a news report published by a major Australian newspaper and has filed formal complaint with the Australian Press Council (APC).
Kangaroo Education Foundation (KEF), a Nepali study-abroad institute in operation since 2007, has approached the media watchdog in relation to a news report The Australian ran on January 21. KEF has termed the report a ‘defamation’.
In response to southasia.com.au’s query about the controversy, KEF managing director Mahesh Babu Timalsina said The Australian’s citing of KEF as a ‘blacklisted’ institution was ‘utterly baseless and ill-intended’. “I can confirm that for the entire history of Kangaroo Education Foundation since its inception in the year 2007, we have neither been blacklisted by any College/University nor has our agency agreement been terminated due to the discrepancy from our part”, Timalsina told southasia.com.au today.
Asked why he thought his company’s name appeared in the News Corp report, Timalsina blamed The Australian for not making an effort to cross-check the ‘biased’ source of news.
“And the reporter as well as the editor of The Australian made no effort to cross-check this unverifiable allegation and put our name in haste. We will not let it go as it has harmed our reputation to a larger extent and we are preparing to sue The Australian under Uniform Defamation Law of Australia,” the Kathmandu-based educational entrepreneur warned.
The Australian had published the news report on January 21 under the headline ‘Surge in Fake Foreign Students’.
Documents obtained by southasia.com.au indicate KEF complained to APC that its reputation was at stake as vernacular versions of the News Corp report had ‘gone viral’. It maintains the concerned reporter, chief of staff and the publisher failed to respond to KEF’s repeated inquiries as to what evidence the newspaper had about the claim that KEF had advertised itself as a ‘100% visa success rate’ organisation. According to its letter to News Corp, no institute could mention ‘100% visa success rate’ in their advertisements as it would have breached the Code of Conduct of ECAN, the umbrella organisation of educational consultants in Nepal.
The APC is currently investigating the matter and is understood to have written to The Australian for explanation. “As confirmed by APC, the deadline for response has already crossed and this shows that The Australian either does not have any evidence to prove what they have written or they are ignoring APC’s take on this,” Timalsina said to southasia.com.au.
The KEF boss said he would seek ‘legal remedy’ as soon as he receives the APC verdict on the issue.