Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s leading human rights organization which has been fighting for the rights of sexual and gender minorities since 2001 strongly condemned the sensational piece of yellow journalism broadcast by Sagarmatha TV starting on August 14, 2012. Sagarmatha TV’s Khoj Khabar program which bills itself as “investigative journalism,” put a black mark on the name of the fourth estate in Nepal when it broadcast a biased and malicious news item accusing BDS of allegations unsupported by evidence such as corruption and fraud. Among other spurious allegations, the TV station had alleged that:
• BDS has an annual budget of 32 crore rupees. Our actual budget is about Rs. 8 crores.
• BDS leadership have engaged in corruption and lined their pockets. They offered no proof whatsoever to support these baseless accusations.
• They claimed BDS does very little for the sexual and gender minority community. In fact, we have 38 offices and 800 staff all over the country serving the LGBTI community.
• BDS fudged the number of attendees on its peer outreach events. This is untrue as we observe stringent M&E standards and frequent audits.
Following a strong defense mounted by the leadership and staff of the Blue Diamond Society in response to these damaging and unsupported allegations, we are pleased to report that our supporters and donors from Nepal and all over the world have stood by us. They have come out with strong statements condemning Sagarmatha TV and reaffirming their faith in the quality, reliability, and integrity of BDS’ work and financial practices. Some of the donors who issued statements defending our record of achievement and accountability were the Global Fund, UNDP, FIAR, and SidAction, among others.
We have also taken up this matter with the National Press Council, the National Human Rights Council, the Ministry of Health, and other relevant entities to ensure that our unblemished record remains that way and that false, criminal allegations do not sully it. The National Press Council has summoned executives of the TV station and ordered them to produce proof for their charges. Sagarmatha TV has neither retracted its story not apologized. Their highly irresponsible and condemnable behavior has been a learning experience for us as we realize that detractors of the human rights movement will go to great lengths to distort the truth.
We have emerged scarred but stronger from this experience. Our faith in the work we do has been reaffirmed by the support we received from friends and donors and we are committed to continuously improving our work. Thank you all for your much appreciated support.