29 June 2020 I The upper house of Nepal’s federal parliament today heard how Kathmandu’s major media houses last week ran “fake news” based on a “report” that foreign affairs minister Pradip Gyawali claimed did not exist.
Mr Gyawali went on to claim that the media outlets in scrutiny based their news articles on the report which was not even the jurisdiction of the cited ministry.
“How come these news stories appeared in a sponsored manner? How, and from what factory, did such fake news emerge that could have potentially affected the relationship between two countries? How were they circulated? We are taking these matters seriously,” Mr Gyawali said during his parliamentary address raising a serious question on the credibility of some of Nepal’s major media outlets.
Several news articles published by some of Nepal’s most powerful mainstream media outlets had claimed, based on a report which allegedly did not exist, that China had encroached upon a total of 35 hectares of Nepalese land in 7 bordering districts.
That the media reports came at a time when Nepal was already embroiled in a diplomatic row with India over Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani is ominous, Mr Gyawali appeared to indicate.
The minister’s assertion in the Parliament today indicated that the news articles published by Kathmandu’s biggest media houses could well have been “sponsored”.
“As was claimed in the news, boundary markers 37 and 38 were not erected,” Mr Gyawali told members of the Rastriya Sabha. There had always been an understanding between the two countries that the said pillars could not be erected due to the difficult terrain of the region, he clarified.
He urged concerned media outlets not to disseminate such misleading news that may affect the relationship between two friendly neighbours.
The border between Nepal and China was demarcated on the basis of the Boundary Treaty of 5 October 1961 as well as subsequent protocols the two neighbours have since signed.
Nepal and China have no major border issues, Mr Gyawali assured his fellow parliamentarians. He further added that whatever minor issues they have are currently being looked into.
He warned the Government of Nepal was currently investigating into the matter to establish who was the source of the “fake news”.
Some media outlets have already published corrigendum in relation to the publication of the news about the alleged land-grab by China, it is understood.
this news article has been edited for clarity 30.06.2020 11:43 hrs