Media mission concerned about scribes’ security

Kathmandu, January 17:

International Media Mission (IMN) on Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression in Nepal today expressed concern over the continued harassment and threats to journalists,

media workers and media institutions and the growing culture of impunity.

Organising a press conference on the last day of the mission’s fourth visit to Nepal,

Jesper Hojberg, executive director of International Media Support, condemned the murders of Birendra Sah and Pushkar Bahadur Shrestha, and the disappearance of Prakash Singh Thakuri, and called for the prompt and thorough investigation of these cases by the judicial authorities.

The mission visited Bara and Parsa where journalists Shah and Shrestha were murdered and Kanchanpur, from where Thakuri had disappeared.

IMN also raised concern about the press freedom violations taking place throughout the nation, particularly as impartial and independent media coverage would be essential for holding free and fair elections and promoting the democratic process.

It stressed on the need for the strong constitutional protection of freedom of expression and press freedom, as well as the reform of the broadcast law and transformation of the state media into public service media, offering a diverse programming serving the needs of all in society.

It also appealed for the implementation of the recommendations of the High Level Media Advisory Commission.

It has emphasised on creating a favourable environment for online media in Nepal, and requested media institutions to provide fair and decent working conditions to journalists and media workers. It also called for negotiations between trade unions, media management and media workers to be held in a constructive manner.

It urged media managers to ensure women are provided equal opportunities for employment, pay and promotion and ensure staffing at all levels representing diversity, including marginalised groups such as Dalits, indigenous nationalities, Madhesi and religious minorities.

According to IMN’s statement, attacks, threats and interference in the media were unacceptable and deny the public’s right to access independent and diverse information. The mission informed that a short-term observation team would be sent to monitor the media situation during the Constituent Assembly polls.

A report on the achievements of IMN’s five-day long visit to Nepal will be published after a week. The mission was on a Nepal visit since January 13.

During its meeting with Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula earlier in the morning, Sitaula had informed that the government was working on forming a special taskforce for the security of journalists. He also said the government was serious about the continued attacks on journalists and media organisations over the recent months. He also said the Home Ministry is planning a special security arrangement to journalists during the CA polls.