NPU to seek IFJ’s support to pressure govt

Kathmandu, June 5

Nepal Press Union is preparing to invite an international media mission in Nepal to exert pressure on the government to withdraw provisions from a few bills, that propose to restrict press freedom.

Chair of NPU Badri Sigdel said his organisation was preparing to invite a team of International Federation of Journalists in Nepal as the government was trying to curtail press freedom, in violation of the constitution that has guaranteed ‘full press freedom’ in its preamble.

Sigdel said he would present challenges facing Nepali journalism in the 30th IFJ Congress which will be held in Tunis, Tunisia, from June 11 to 14. NPU Chair Sigdel, Vice-chair Bala Adhikari and General Secretary Ajay Babu Siwakoti will attend the event.

Sigdel made the comments at an interaction programme held today to discuss measures to protect freedom of expression and freedom of press, and to assess FNJ’s ongoing agitation against the Media Council Bill. “We will incorporate the views expressed during interaction in our presentation in Tunis,” Sigdel said.

At the interaction, former president of Federation of Nepali Journalists Suresh Acharya said the government’s attempts to muzzle the press was against the spirit of democracy.

He suggested that the issue of threat to the media by the state should be raised strongly in the IFJ Congress. “We need to request the IFJ for the same support it had offered us during the direct rule of the then king Gyanendra Shah,” he said.

FNJ Vice-president Bipul Pokhrel said the state attacking media by formulating draconian laws was a matter of condemnation. Media sector was facing threat from the state, elected representatives and middlemen, according to Pokhrel.

“Incidents over the past year have shown how risky journalism has become,” he said.