FNJ, NBA to fight against proposed Press Ordinance

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 22:

Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) and Nepal Bar Association (NBA) are to jointly fight against the proposed Amended Press Ordinance that will reportedly curb press freedom.

This was decided in a meeting of the officials from the FNJ and the NBA held today. “We will do everything to save the press freedom as lawyers and journalists are complementary fighters for the fundamental rights,” Shambhu Thapa, the chairman of the NBA said. He said NBA would assist FNJ in filing a case seeking stay order against the proposed ordinance because the ordinance is against the norms of the press freedom guaranteed by the 1990 Constitution. “We must build pressure against this ordinance and prove that we are not cowards,” he said. The ordinance, reportedly approved by the Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, has been designed to make major amendments in the existing Radio Act 2014, the Rastriya Samachar Samiti Act 2019, the Press Council Act 2048, the Press and Publication Act 2048, the National Broadcasting Act 2049 and the Defamation Act 2016.

The ordinance has increased the fine sum by as much as ten times and has confined the scope for the journalists in major issues giving the government a special power to seize and declare void the Press Pass issued by the government to any journalist if they are found to

be working against the spirit of the ordinance. The ordinance also bars any company to establish more than three media and also bars any FM radio station to air informative programmes. Bishnu Nisthuri, the chairman of FNJ said the amendment ordinance has attacked whatever press freedom that had remained after the February 1 royal take over.

“We will shortly announce a series of protest programmes. We have to express our solidarity as the time has come to safeguard the achievements of the 1990 movement,” he said.

Human rights bodies’ condemnation

KATHMANDU: Twenty-five human rights bodies on Sunday condemned the amendment of Nepal Human Rights Commission and Press Law, calling it the government’s planned steps to destroy the democratic system. On behalf of the 25 human rights bodies, Dr Gopal Krishna Siwakti, general secretary of HimRights condemned the amendments, in a press release. The release was also signed by Subodh Raj Pyakurel and Shobhakar Budhathoki. Nomination of new members of the commission, when the country lacks constitutional agencies responsible to nominate the commissioners, is totally undemocratic and illegal, the release said.

“It is overlooking of the basics of Paris Principles,” it added. — HNS