Kathmandu, April 17
The Federation of Nepali Journalists has announced that it will stage a sit-in protest in front of the District Administration Office, Kathmandu tomorrow, demanding an end to the use of provisions stipulated in Sections 47 and 48 of Electronic Transactions Act, 2008 for journalists, which it said were against the press freedom.
According to FNJ, the journalists will picket the DAO from 9:30 am to 10:30 am. In addition to the sit-in, FNJ has also decided to submit a memorandum to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, urging the government to release journalists who were arrested under the act.
FNJ President Govinda Acharya said the provisions of the act should not be implemented on journalists whose job was to collect information and publish or broadcast it through the media.
Around 100 journalists have been arrested under this act till now, said Acharya.
According to Section 47 of the act, a person who publishes any materials in the electronic media, that are prohibited to be published or displayed under the prevailing law or which may be contrary to public morality or which may spread hatred or jealously against someone or jeopardise the harmonious relations among people of various castes, tribes and communities, will be punished with a fine of up to Rs 100,000 or an imprisonment for five years, or both.
Likewise, a person is liable to be punished with a fine of Rs 10,000 or an imprisonment of two years or both, if he or she violates an individual’s rights to privacy.
Acharya informed that though the government had promised not to implement the act on journalists one year ago, it had failed to keep the promise.
He said, “Press Council Nepal, Nepal Police and FNJ together had signed an agreement to this effect last year, promising not to arrest journalists for writing and publishing any sort of news or information.”
But journalists are getting arrested every year for writing news articles on corruption and crime, among others.
“We will protest the decision of the government through every media. We are also holding central committee meeting and will announce a list of protest programmes tomorrow,” said Acharya.
A version of this article appears in print on April 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.