17 June 2020 I Khilendra Raj Timsina, a Sydney solicitor who was recently “barred” from working as a migration agent, is going hot after Nepalese Australian social media users who shared an article he claims is “defamatory” of him.
The Principal Solicitor of DM Legal has issued legal notices to at least 11 people who shared the article published by My Nepal Television, a Nepalese-language digital media operated off Melbourne. Mr Timsina claims that the news misrepresents facts about him and his career.
The eleven men in Sydney and Perth who received the “Concerns Notice” are in addition to the Publisher and Editor of MNTV who received the notices right on the day the news was posted online on June 12.
The Concerns Letter Mr Timsina and his barrister have been serving detail the imputations that they claim can be drawn from the MNTV article.
The author of the news report, MNTV’s news chief Chiranjebi Devkota, stands by his article as well as its source which was none other than a report posted on the website of the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA). Mr Devkota recently told southasia.com.au that there was no way he would take it offline which is one of the main demands of Mr Timsina in addition to publishing an unreserved apology on the same media outlet.
The MNTV article is still online and live.
Mr Timsina, who specialises in divorce settlements, complains that MNTV used his picture without permission and described MARA’s decision about him as “cancelled” as opposed to it being “barred”, among other things.
Mr Devkota, however, does not agree that his news article specifically mentions the migration agent’s status as “cancelled”. He says his article merely suggests that the agent’s license was “taken back for 5 years” and not “cancelled”.
The tussle between MNTV and Mr Timsina appears to originate in the translated version of the Nepalese-language article.
Mr Devkota disagrees with the translated copy of the article.
According to Mr Timsina, few people who shared the article online have already written to him to apologise in addition to deleting the shared posts.
Admins of some Facebook groups have also deleted the posts shared by the concerned community media journalists, he added.
The Concerns Letters served through Emails will also be expressed posted in the mail, Mr Timsina said.
The Nepalese-origin solicitor from Sydney has also submitted a complaint to the Australian Press Council.
“If the parties do not respond within the 28-day notice period then I will surely go to the Supreme Court of New South Wales,” Mr Timsina said.
This is the first time that members of the Nepalese diaspora have been served notices for what they think is a simple exercise of their freedom of expression.
Mr Timsina is not even letting go of people who have harshly commented about him on social media and is still in the process of writing more concerns letters.
MNTV’s Chiranjebi Devkota says he is worried about members of the community who have received letters for simply sharing the article on social media. “And we are very much concerned about the people who got legal notices just because they commented and shared the article,” he said.
Concerns Notice is a pre-litigation condition for any defamation lawsuit in Australia.