Baidya for new model of press freedom

Kathmandu, June 13:

Maoist leader Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ today said his party would go for a third model of “press freedom”.

“As both the parliamentary and Communist models of press freedom have flaws, a new model should be developed. Our party will go for a third model of press freedom to be adopted for Nepal in future,” he said, while addressing an interaction on autonomy for the state-owned Radio Nepal.

He reiterated the Maoists’ commitment to press freedom. “Nobody should undermine press freedom,” he said.

He added that the government to be formed would not be able to frame a model of press freedom solely of the kind their party envisages.

“The new government is going to be based on consensus. I cannot say to what extent we will be able to offer press freedom,” he said.

Responding to the charges of misuse of the state-owned media by the Maoists, he said this was not fair and should not continue.

Over the issue of providing autonomy to Radio Nepal, he said autonomy alone was not going to solve the problem because it was associated with the old feudal mentality.

“The government should not put away the state-owned media. Some problems might have been there in the past. The new government should correct it,” he said.

Dr Minendra Rijal said there should be a thorough discussion on the bases on which Radio Nepal could be granted autonomy.

“Having self-dependence merely on paper may not enable the radio station to exercise total freedom, as it will find it difficult to rid itself of the old feudal mentality,” he said.

Ram Janam Chaudhary of Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum said the state-owned media had been misused by whoever comes to power.

“When I was affiliated with the Nepali Congress, I heard some minister putting pressure on Radio Nepal to have news aired in their favour,” he said.

Raghuji Panta of CPN-UML said the political parties should be clear whether they want the government to run mass media.

His suggestion: let the parliament handle the state-run media if all agree that the state should not own any media.

Executive Director of Radio Nepal urged all parties to provide it a new and concrete guideline as the recommendation of merging Radio Nepal and Nepal Television to form an autonomous broadcasting academy was creating confusion among the mediapersons in the radio station.