Journos demand revision of civil and criminal codes

Kathmandu, August 25

A gathering of leading daily newspapers, mediapersons, officials and former presidents of Federation of Nepali Journalist concluded in Lalitpur today by adopting a four-point Godavari Declaration for the protection and promotion of freedom of opinion and expression, free press, right to information and citizens’ rights.

The one-day gathering organised by the FNJ demanded that the lawmakers make amendment to or revise the anti-press provisions in the Civil Code Act and Criminal Code Act without any delay. It observed that some provisions relating to offence against state, public peace, defamation and right to privacy were meant to tighten the noose on and curtail freedom of expression and press freedom.

“The codes have considered even the functions related to publication and broadcast through media a criminal offence. In addition, they criminalise the provisions of Section 15 of the Press and Publication Act. It is highly objectionable to criminalise defamation, individual privacy and publication as well and hence should be rectified pronto,” the declaration reads.

It also said that the Individual Privacy Bill recently registered at the Parliament Secretariat intends to empower the government agencies to keep information of public concern and about persons holding public post secret, hinder and harm the free journalistic practice, and eclipse the right to information under the mask of privacy instead of strengthening the individual privacy of citizens. “We would like to draw a serious attention of all lawmakers and political parties for an amendment to and revision in the bill,” the declaration says.

The FNJ has also decided to form a team comprising eminent persons from the stakeholders to hold discussion with and seek suggestions from various parties in the context of laws made or to be drafted in a manner to regulate the freedom of expression, press freedom and right to information.