Programmes held to mark World Press Freedom Day

Kathmandu, May 3

World Press Freedom Day was marked across the country today by organising different programmes.

Speaking at a programme here today, Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Deepak Raj Joshi urged working journalists to  fearlessly publish and broadcast factual and impartial reports. “People will lose trust in the media, if journalists do not maintain credibility and report news based on facts,” he said.

At the programme organised by the Federation of Nepali Journalists, UNESCO Kathmandu Office and Freedom Forum, FNJ Acting Chair Kishor Shrestha said, “Apart from advocating for the rights of journalists, time has come for the evaluation of malpractices in journalism. An overwhelming number of journalists and media houses are being registered at the Department of Information with the sole purpose of acquiring government pass. This needs to be checked.”

Currently, there are above 16,000 journalists and 9,000 media outlets (print, radio, television and online) registered at Department of Information. Shrestha also proposed to establish a ‘Press bench’ so that all issues related to journalism could be handled by themselves.

The report launched by the Freedom Forum mentioned that the year 2017 saw the highest number of anti-press incidents in comparison to the last five years.

While 29 cases of press freedom violation were registered in 2016, 66 cases were filed last year when the country held its first local, provincial and parliamentary elections after the promulgation of the constitution.

Similarly, 131 incidents of press freedom violation were recorded in 2012 during the Madhes agitation. Above 50 journalists were killed worldwide in the year 2017.

In Nepal, 36 journalists have lost their lives and four others have disappeared since the Maoist insurgency began in Nepal in 1996.

Hundreds of journalists participated in a morning rally organised by Federation of Nepali Journalists to mark World Press Freedom Day this morning.

The rally that started from Bhrikutimandap passed through Padmodayamod, Putalisadak and Bagbazar before converging at Santibatika in Ratnapark.

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Nepal started celebrating the day since 1996.

This year the slogan for World Press Freedom Day is ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law.’