Freedom of the press should not be curtailed, says NHRC Chair Sharma

Kathmandu, August 4

Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission Anup Raj Sharma has said that any curtailment of press freedom could affect the protection and promotion of human rights.

Speaking at an interaction on ‘Protection of Freedom of Press and Expression’ organised by Federation of Nepali Journalists here yesterday,

Chairperson Sharma said, “Journalists are also human rights defenders. If freedom of press and expression is restricted, it will be against the constitution.”

Member of the House of Representatives RadheshyamAdhikari said the press had played an important role in restoration of democracy in many countries.

“In case there is any provision in the Criminal and Civil Code which is considered a hindrance to press freedom, it can be amended to suit the specific needs,” he suggested.

Senior advocate and lawmaker Ram Narayan  Bidari said, “Any law is drafted and enacted targeting society as a whole and therefore if the criminal and civil codes place any restriction on the profession of journalists, necessary amendments may be made to such provisions.”

Federation of Nepali Journalists president Govinda Acharya said that the Criminal Code, which will come into force from August 17, had provisions for punishing journalists for merely their work. “We should hold serious discussion on such provisions,” he said.

Another person to speak at the event was former Federation of Nepali Journalists president Taranath Dahal who warned that some provisions of the Criminal Code could affect various genres of journalism. “It is also likely to restrict press freedom,” he added.

Similarly, speaking at the programme, former Federation of Nepali Journalists president Dharmendra Jha said that the Criminal Code contained previsions to curtail press freedom due to the lack of good knowledge about journalism among bureaucrats.