Committee formed to draft new media laws

Kathmandu, February 3

Minister for Information and Communications Surendra Kumar Karki today said the government was making necessary preparations for effective implementation of National Media Policy, 2016.

Speaking at a press meet organised at the MoIC, Minister Karki informed that a recommendation committee was also formed for drafting new media laws in conformity with the policy. "Similarly, an initiative has been taken to establish an Information Hub at the Department of Information with an objective of circulating all kinds of information from a single point. The government has forwarded the necessary process for implementing the provision allowing 50 per cent discount to working journalists for medical service in government-run hospitals," he said.

In the current fiscal budget, the government had announced medical package for journalists.

As per the new policy, information and communications system will be developed as a medium to uplift people's living standards and to institutionalise the federal democratic republic. It has also provided for a provision to recognise media as information and knowledge-based service industry by classifying them as self-employment, small, medium-sized and large investment enterprises.

With the implementation of the policy, the government will adopt a clean feed (without added graphics and text as advertisement for commercial purpose) policy for foreign television channels that wish to obtain broadcast licence in Nepal.

According to a press release issued by the ministry, monitoring committees have been formed and eventually mobilised to ascertain whether or not media outlets are paying journalists minimum salary prescribed by the government. "An automated system has been launched in Press Council Nepal to maintain records of news disseminated by print, electronic and online media to make them responsible," read the release. At the same time, the ministry said it would also digitise cable television networks by May 1, 2019.

"The government will also start providing grants to the organisations relating to journalism within the current fiscal by approving its procedure. Necessary study is under way for the implementation of proportional ad to media, security of mediapersons and support to media operating from remote areas," added the release.

Minister Karki said the government was also doing groundwork to vest on district post office the power to renew the broadcast licence of FM radios with the capacity of up to 500 watt.