Nepal | July 03, 2020

NA members pledge to amend Media Council Bill

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, August 14

Chairperson of the National Assembly Ganesh Timilsina today said political parties and the Federation of Nepali Journalists had decided to forge consensus on the disputed Media Council Bill after it drew flak from the media fraternity and stakeholders.

Speaking at an interaction organised in Kathmandu, Timilsina said, “Political parties and FNJ have agreed to move ahead by amending controversial provisions in the bill. We have been holding discussions with the FNJ.”

Vice-chairperson of the Upper House Shashikala Dahal said the National Assembly would hold clause-wise discussions on the bill to ensure that it didn’t contravene the spirit of the constitution, which guarantees full press freedom.

Dinanath Sharma, Nepal Communist Party (NCP) parliamentary party leader at the National Assembly, said the lower house would also provide full autonomy to the media council proposed by the bill through its amendment.

“Process to form the council will be amended and we will move ahead by forging a consensus with FNJ on quantum of punishment,” he said.

The bill registered by the government in the Upper House of the Parliament on May 9 included controversial provisions such as fine up to one million rupees for an erring journalist, which FNJ said was aimed at curtailing media freedom. Section 18 (1) of the new bill stipulated that if any media published contents in contravention of the code of conduct and if an investigation launched after the affected party’s complaint found that such news content damaged reputation of the complainant, then the media council could impose fine between Rs 25,000 and one million rupees on media outlets, publishers, editors, journalists and reporters.

Section 18 (2) of the bill provisioned that the council could order the erring parties to pay compensation if the content in media damaged the reputation of the affected party.

Surendra Pandey, Nepali Congress parliamentary party leader at the National Assembly, urged all to rest assured about press-friendly bill as the ruling party had expressed its commitment to incorporate suggestions of FNJ in the proposed law. NCP Chief Whip Khimlal Bhattarai assured of amending the bill on the basis of suggestions provided by FNJ. NC Chief Whip Sarita Prasai suggested that all political parties should stand united for press freedom.

FNJ President Govinda Acharya stressed the bill and all laws related to media should be in compliance with international democratic norms and values, and spirit of the constitution. He urged the National Assembly to be alert against any ploys to curtail press freedom in the country.

A version of this article appears in print on August 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Health Minister says 'Enough is Enough' campaign justifiable

KATHMANDU: Activists of 'Enough is Enough' campaign today held a discussion with the Minister of Health and Population, Bhanubhakta Dhakal, to draw the government's attention towards the demands put forth by the campaigners. They have insisted that the government take the demands seriously and ac Read More...

In Pictures: Protest against govt's ineffective response to COVID-19 crisis

Kathmandu, July 2 Youths hold placards while maintaining safe distance as they take part in a protest at Patan on Thursday demanding better and effective response from the government in handling COVID-19 outbreak. Read More...

PM Oli at HAMS hospital to take stock of health of activists on Satyagraha

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has visited the HAMS hospital to take stock of health of youth activists who have been staging a fast-unto-death Satyagraha for the last six days. Activist Iih along with others have been staging the Satyagraha demanding that the government correct its cour Read More...

Colombia sex workers

Thailand's migrant sex workers fear for the future

BANGKOK: Bua used to earn up to 40,000 baht ($1,300) a month as a sex worker in Thailand's northern province of Chiang Mai when the coronavirus forced entertainment venues to close, leaving her jobless. Since March, the 32-year-old single mother, who is Burmese, has racked up debts of more than 1 Read More...

Botswana investigating mystery deaths of 275 elephants

GABORONE: The number of elephants found dead in Botswana's Okavango Panhandle has risen to 275 from 154 reported two weeks ago, the government said on Thursday. Authorities are investigating the unexplained deaths over the past months. Poaching has been ruled out as the carcasses were found Read More...

Deepika Padukone champions #DobaraPoocho on importance of discussing mental health issues

KATHMANDU: Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone has urged to be a little more attentive towards their loved ones and repeatedly inquire about their life struggles and mental health issues, through a campaign #DobaraPoocho. Taking to her Instagram on June 30, 34-year-old actor posted a video about che Read More...

Bob Dylan makes chart history with Rough and Rowdy Ways

KATHMANDU: American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has made a chart history with his 39th studio album Rough and Rowdy Ways — the critically-acclaimed full-length debuted at No 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, amassing three million streams and the equivalent of 53,000 album units in the United States. Read More...

British musicians call for govt to help live music industry

KATHMANDU: Some 1,500 British musicians including Sir Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran and The Rolling Stones called for the British government on July 2 to support the live music business survive the novel coronavirus pandemic as the future for concerts, festivals and the people who work in them looks bl Read More...