Kathmandu, December 30
The year 2016 was relatively peaceful for media with significant decline in the number of press freedom violations, according to a report.
According to the annual press watch report issued by Freedom Forum Nepal, it recorded only 25 incidents of press freedom violation during 2016 against 83 in 2015. The 25 incidents of press freedom violation affected nearly 75 mediapersons.
Despite having much awaited constitution in place, political stability was threatened, especially due to political parties’ differences over provincial demarcation, which undoubtedly kept media under intimidation.
There was neither any forward-looking policy on media, nor any measure taken by the State to address impunity relating to crimes against journalists, which is a pressing need, but has been pending for long.
Journalists’ professionalism is still eluding, it said.
Province 2 (which includes eight districts in the southern plains) and Province 3 (which comprises the capital city) witnessed the highest six and 12 cases of press freedom violation respectively, whereas Province 4 and 6 remained free of violations.
Similarly, Province 5 recorded four violations followed by Province 7 with two violations and only one in Province 1.
“There were 11 incidents of attacks, while five threats and death threats, four incidents of manhandling, and five arrest/detentions, including attacks on two media houses,” read the report.
As in the past, police persons were involved in many incidents of press freedom violation, while local leaders and cadres of political parties were the second most hostile to mediapersons.
Reporters writing on misuse of public money and unsystematic public service delivery were more under threat. Journalists in the capital city faced intimidation, mostly by police.
The trend of running Internet-based media has hopped significantly. Currently, there are 501 news portals in the country against the record of 250 in 2015.
The study shows that out of the total reporters/news writers and news sources, there are only 13.4 per cent women working as reporters and 10.67 per cent women acted as news sources in the main dailies.
Internet penetration is expanding gradually in Nepal. It has now reached to 52.7 per cent as compared to 44.11 per cent of the population in the last year.
Nepali media is still suffering today due to impunity relating to the crimes against journalists/mediapersons.
A version of this article appears in print on December 31, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.