Ram Khatry I 13 June 2020 I A Nepali-speaking Sydney solicitor’s legal team has been busy since yesterday issuing “concerns notice” to a number of individuals including the operator of a Nepali-language news website and an education agent the digital media had quoted in a recent news report.
Khilendra Raj Timsina, known in the Nepalese diaspora for his publicity antics selling his services as a divorce lawyer, claims that the “imputation” drawn from a My Nepal Television’s news report is “defamatory”. Mr Timsina remarked that his license as a migration agent has not been “cancelled” as indicated by the news report and that his picture was featured prominently and in a manner that harmed his position as a lawyer.
Mr Timsina warned he would pursue each and every individual who shared the “defamatory” news on Facebook or other social media platforms. His legal team members were busy working late into Saturday evening trying to track down people who have shared it on social media.
MNTV, however, stands by the 12 June report. Its chief news editor Chiranjebi Raj Devkota said he carried out due diligence and fact-checks before running the article about Mr Timsina’s status as a migration agent.
“Our news is based on what is already there in the public domain on MARA website,” the general secretary of Australian Nepalese Journalist Association (ANJA) said.
“We are fully confident about our news report, and its source,” Mr Devkota stated. The publicly available report on MARA website detailing Mr Timsina’s offences and fraudulent activities has defamed the image of the Nepalese community, he rued.
The Melbourne-based journalist also claimed he was aware of Mr Timsina calling people who have shared the news on social media. They have been threatened with defamation lawsuits if they do not remove their social media posts sharing his news, he said.
The Nepalese-Australian solicitor however denied he threatened or harassed any member of the community.
He admitted that he has been calling people who have shared the news article on social media but for the purpose of requesting “their correct email and postal address to send Concerns Notice”. His legal team has already sent Concerns Notice to multiple Facebook users who either shared and commented on the “defamatory news”, the solicitor revealed.
“It is true I have been making phone calls and my legal team will continue to communication all the parties to until matter is resolved. A phone call requesting their email ID would not amount to harassment. However, they are happy to call their local police if they feel so,” the Sydney-based solicitor said.
The solicitor acting behalf of Mr Timsina has given 28 days to make “amends” to the defamatory “imputation” caused by the MNTV news article.
The solicitor has also called on the website to immediately “cause the image of Mr Timsina, and accompanying text, to be removed from Facebook and from any other media where you have caused the image and/or text to be published”.
The complainant has also asked the MNTV operator to immediately publish an “unreserved apology to Mr Timsina on Facebook and on any other media where you have caused the image and/or text to be published”.
Asked how someone can be held responsible for defamation for sharing a news material on Facebook, Mr Timsina warned there has been a precedent in NSW in the past wherein sharing defamatory material on Facebook was held accountable.
Mr Timsina said he would move court if MNTV does not take requested steps to make amends per the legal notice, the “Concerns Notice”.