PM vows to protect freedom of press

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal today expressed anguish and “sorrow” over the “unabated threats” to journalists and media houses over news coverage in the country.

His remarks come in the wake of death threats issued to journalists and media houses over telephone or via email by a gang of unidentified troublemakers.

Addressing a function organised in the capital to mark the 49th anniversary of Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS), the PM said the government was always with journalists and media houses and that it will see to it that they are not intimidated and served with threats.

“The government and I, myself, condemn such threats to journalists and media houses and ensure their security so that they can carry out their work in a peaceful and free environment,” he said.

The PM also sounded an alarm over the recent threats made against journalists writing and disseminating news. He was referring to news covered by journalists on the murder of media entrepreneur Jamim Shah.

Nepal praised the courage demonstrated by journalists and media houses to make sure that people are not deprived of their right to information. He appealed to all media houses to stand united and galvanise themselves to bring those responsible to justice and make a media-friendly environment.

“The government has a zero-tolerance policy against anti-press elements and is serious about the security of journalists,” he said.

Minister for Information and Communication Shankar Pokharel urged journalists and media houses to not panic over such threats and reassured that the government was ready to protect their lives. “Anti-press elements can never shut the mouth of the press,” said Pokharel, who is also the government spokesperson.

The PM and the minister appreciated the role being played by RSS — the only national news agency of Nepal — since its inception in 2018 BS. Nepal also inaugurated an audio news clip service and gave away lifetime achievement awards to three officials on behalf of the RSS.