FNJ denounces provisions of media council bill

Kathmandu, May 10

Federation of Nepali Journalists has announced protest programmes against provisions of the bill related to constituting Nepal Media Council, which according to FNJ, could serve as a government-controlled council to curtail press freedom.

The umbrella body of journalists issued a press release stating that it would protest the provisions of the bill in front of the Parliament and in district headquarters on May 17 by downing tools. On May 14, journalists will wear black ribbons at their workplace and FNJ will also organise interactions at its central, provincial and branch offices to discuss their strategies.

FNJ has decided to hold discussions with its past office bearers, editors, lawyers and experts on the provisions of Nepal Media Council Bill on May 12, and it will submit its memorandum to the speaker and chairperson of the National Assembly on May 13.

On May 14, FNJ will hold discussion with chairpersons of relevant panels of the Parliament.

FNJ took these decisions after holding its central committee’s meeting, but prior to that meeting, it also held meetings with chairpersons and representatives of media outlets.

FNJ issued a press release stating that the provisions of the bill were aimed at placing government’s control on Nepal Media Council and curtailing press freedom.

The journalists’ umbrella body called on the government to withdraw the bill and register a new bill that conformed to the spirit of the constitution, freedom of press and expression and was in line with national and international norms.

FNJ has also demanded that the anti-media provisions of the Advertisement Bill and Information Technology Bill, being considered by the Parliament, should be dropped. FNJ said the government brought the Nepal Media Council Bill without consulting stakeholders. FNJ has asked the government to forge consensus with all stakeholders on the new bill relating to mass communication and public service broadcasting that the government is currently drafting. FNJ drew the attention of the government and all stakeholders to ensure that these new bill did not curtail press freedom.

The government registered the Nepal Media Council Bill in the National Assembly, the Upper House of the Parliament yesterday.