International Media Conference begins in the Capital

KATHMANDU: An international media conference has begun in the Capital with the theme ‘Promotion of Freedom of Expression and the Voice of Marginalised Communities in the Media’ on Monday.

The conference has been organised by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and the International Alert.

Opening the conference, Speaker Onsari Gharti said the freedom of expression is one of the many major dimensions of democracy. She described this freedom as the main mantra of democracy.

The Speaker opined that the mass communication media was the means of expression for institutionalising and enhancing democracy, adding that the Press is also known as the fourth estate as its job is also to independently watch the performance of the three other organs of the State.

Stating that the important task of constitution implementation would be completed with the conclusion of the federal and province parliament elections on November 26 and December 7, she stressed the need of amending and revising the various Acts and regulations in tune with the federalism.

The Speaker stated that untoward incidents like attack on journalists or their killing have decreased of late, and this has given a sense of the guarantee of press freedom and the freedom of expression to some extent.

Noting that the Constitution of Nepal has fully guaranteed the press freedom, she stressed the need for the media to give priority to the voices of the marginalised classes and communities.

Similarly, FNJ president Govinda Acharya said, “Although the constitution has guaranteed the freedom to write and express, there were challenges to put this into practice.”

Senior journalist Kishor Nepal underscored the need of making the media stronger and said the Nepali media has not raised the voice of the marginalised communities.

Tribhuvan University's professor of journalism, P Kharel expressed the view that although the constitution had ample provisions for media freedom and freedom of expression, the implementation aspect was lacking.

The two-day conference will see deliberations on various topics as reporting in challenging conditions, journalists safety, self-censorship, the voices of various communities in the alternative media, women in media, editorial freedom, inclusive media, the organisers said.

Journalists and media experts from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan among other countries are participating in the conference.