Scrap anti-press provisions, says NMS

Kathmandu, August 16

Nepal Media Society has drawn its serious attention to certain provisions in the Civil Code Act and Criminal Code Act, which commence from tomorrow.

A press release issued by the umbrella organisation of media houses stated that the provisions related privacy and defamation posed a grave threat to press freedom. “Sections 293 to 308 of the Civil Code Act has dealt a blow to the press,” NMS warned.

“As per Section 293 of the act, no one shall be allowed to listen to audio record of a conversation between two or more persons without permission of a competent authority or the persons involved in the conversation. This has violated the constitutional right to collect and publish or broadcast news,” NMS said.

The media fraternity has demanded that this provision be immediately removed from the law. “We would like to urge the government to bear in mind the provision related to media mentioned in Article 19 of the constitution while enacting any new act and law,” it suggested.

Similarly, Section 294 of the act says that ‘no one shall disclose to any one the secret or confidential information about any person that he/she came to know in the course of discharging his/her duties unless obliged by the law to do so.

“Since journalism is investigative in nature by profession, the mediapersons always intend to expose arbitrariness of the government authorities and make people alert to their wrongdoings. It is a universally accepted principle of journalism. This provision will curtail the rights of media by preventing them from pursuing investigative journalism,” read the release.