Media mission seeks guarantee of press freedom

Kathmandu, August 7 :

The International Advocacy Mission for Press Freedom today demanded that the government guarantee absolute press freedom and review media related laws to strengthen the press freedom and democracy.

Talking to mediapersons on the last day of their five-day mission, the delegates of the mission said they were hopeful that their recommendations would be implemented by the democratic government.

“The government, leaders of political parties and the Maoists have shown their commitment towards press freedom and freedom of expression and we hope this will be translated into action,” said Jesper Hojberg, Executive Director of the International Media Support (IMS).

The mission has recommended comprehensive revision of the provisions related with freedom of expression and media in the draft interim constitution and amend them to ensure they provide strong protection of freedom of the press and expression.

“We recommend a comprehensive review of legislation, which affects the media, to be conducted in a manner, which is broadly consultative in nature, and with the view to bringing those provisions into line with international standards,” the mission statement, issued here today, said.

“Similarly, the measures should be taken to protect state-owned media from potential interference, whether this is through privatisation or transformation into public service media or some other means,” the mission further demanded.

In the meantime, the mission has expressed its concern over the failure of the Working Journalists’ Act to provide adequate protection to journalists and recommended that the Act be comprehensively reviewed and amended to ensure that it can improve the working conditions for journalists.

The mission also expressed concern over attacks on journalists even after the restoration of democracy and urged an urgent attention to it.

The mission members included Jesper Hojberg from IMS, Christopher Warren from International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Toby Mendel from Article 19, Ashish Sen from World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), Andrea Cairola from United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Jacqueline Park from IFJ, Laxmi Murthy from IFJ, Sunanda from International News Safety Instutute (INSI), Biljana Tatomir from Open Society Institute (OSI) and Faruq Faisel from IMS.