Code of conduct vital in journalism: Prez


President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has called for journalists to fully abide by the code of conduct for consolidation of democracy.

Addressing the 51st anniversary of the Press Council Nepal in Shital Niwas here today, the head of the state underscored the need of complete adherence to the code of conduct for making democracy stronger.

Stating that journalism, the fourth organ of the state, is an important means for strengthening democracy, she said democracy could not be conceived of without freedom of expression and the right to information.

Stating that responsible journalism,well-informed citizens and an accountable government were inevitable elements of democracy, President Bhandari said, “I hope several weaknesses witnessed in the mass media sector would gradually go away through the continuous practice of democracy and expect that all journalists will abide by the code of conduct.”

She stressed on effective role of the Press Council Nepal in making journalists abide by the code of conduct. “Baseless and false news and misleading views are found published and broadcast in many media in the name of freedom of expression with disregard to the code of conduct and professional ethics,” she said, adding, “Dissemination of false and misleading information along with advancement of new technology in the information and communication field has become a global challenge. In the context of Nepal, the Press Council’s role should be further stronger to face this challenge.”

The president praised the Press Council Nepal for its works regarding monitoring and regulation of media sector for protection of people’s right to information and for its attempts towards legal action by identifying the media and journalists violating the code of conduct.

Stating that she was informed about the challenges journalists in Nepal have been facing, the president shared that she was unhappy to see the suffering of media houses and mediapersons, globally this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Journalists have been deployed in news dissemination even during such vulnerable situation due to the COV- ID-19. I appreciate journalism sector’s unrelenting fulfilment of responsibility even during this tough situation,” the president said.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 23, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.