Nepal | September 27, 2020

Umbrella body of journos launches protest

Ujjwal Satyal
Share Now:

This undated image shows the members of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) consulting with lawyers on a new bill registered in the Parliament, that includes controversial provisions, such as fine up to Rs 1 million, aimed at curtailing media freedom. Photo courtesy: FNJ

Kathmandu, May 12

The Federation of Nepali Journalists, the largest umbrella body of journalists in Nepal, has launched a protest programme against a new bill registered in the Parliament, which includes controversial provisions, such as fine up to Rs 1 million, aimed at curtailing media freedom.

The five-day protest programme began today with a discussion programme attended by editors of national dailies and online news portals, media experts, senior advocates and human rights activists. An FNJ delegation will meet Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara tomorrow and hand over a petition, requesting amendment to the controversial bill. FNJ members will also meet Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli soon and urge him to make necessary changes to the bill to ensure media freedom. The FNJ may even hit the streets if its concerns are not addressed.

“The new bill is against the spirit of the constitution, whose preamble clearly states that the country’s press shall get full freedom,” said FNJ General Secretary Ramesh Bista.

The preamble encapsulates the fundamental principles and philosophy of a constitution. “So, the government cannot introduce laws that can undermine the spirit of the constitution’s preamble,” said Mohana Ansari, member of the National Human Rights Commission. “It is a pity that our politicians like to brag about having written one of the best constitutions in the world, but laws are being framed to curtail fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.”

If the bill is passed, journalists will not be able to write anything against corruption, anomalies and malpractices, Bista said, adding, “We will not accept it if it is passed as it is.”

The bill, according to former FNJ chairperson Taranath Dahal, contains around a dozen provisions which will prevent the media from working freely. “This is an attempt made by the government to keep the media in its grip,” Dahal said.

One of the controversial provisions in the bill is the leeway it has provided to create a proxy to file complaints against journalists and media companies for publishing or broadcasting news. This provision, according to media experts, will promote the culture of hiring people to lodge complaints to harass journalists and media companies.

“The government should not intervene in the functioning of media,” said Prakash Rimal, editor of The Himalayan Times. “Media industry should abide by its own code of conduct. We can create a mechanism to monitor works of journalists and see whether they are adhering to the code of conduct.” Similar opinion was expressed by Narayan Wagle, editor-in-chief of Kantipur daily. “The bill shows that those who drafted it do not have proper understanding of the functioning of the media industry. The government should not think of bringing it under the domain of a ministry, violating the constitution.”


A version of this article appears in print on May 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

713 proposals submitted for joint infrastructure development to MoCTCA

KATHMANDU, SEPT 25 The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has received 713 proposals for tourism infrastructure development across the country. Under the Tourism Infrastructure Construction and Tourist Product Development Joint Project Framework 2020, MoCT- CA had called Read More...

consumer price inflation slows to 3.49pc

KATHMANDU: The year-on-year consumer price inflation stood at 3.49 per cent in mid-August 2020 compared to 6.95 per cent a year ago reveals the central bank’s Macroeconomic Update report unveiled on Friday. Food and beverage inflation stood at 5.38 per cent whereas non-food and service inflatio Read More...

BPKIHS confirms another death from COVID-19 on Saturday

DHARAN: BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan has confirmed another death due to Covid-19, on Saturday. The 63-year-old man from Rajbiraj Municipality-3 in Saptari district died at 1:15 am during the course of treatment, according to Dr Nidesh Sapkota at the hospital. He said the eld Read More...

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 32.46 million, death toll over 985,000

At least 32,467,949 people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 985,007 people have died, a Reuters tally showed. India reported 86,052 new coronavirus cases on Friday and was set to overtake the United States by next month as the world's worst-affected na Read More...

1,207 new cases take Nepal’s coronavirus tally to 71,821 on Saturday

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s coronavirus tally moved to 71,821 as 1,207 new infections were reported in the last 24 hours. As many as 1,147 people that had earlier contracted Covid-19 tested negative for the infection as per the Ministry’s latest data. So far, 53,013 people have recovered from the dise Read More...

Eight Covid-19 fatalities registered on Saturday, death toll advances to 467

KATHMANDU: Eight more individuals diagnosed with coronavirus infection have succumbed to the disease, the Ministry of Health and Population confirmed at its regular media briefing on Saturday. All of those reported dead were males. Details of the deceased individuals 66-year-old male, Sap Read More...

Dhangadhi Sub-metropolis continues providing free food to returnees from India

DHANGADHI: Dhangadhi Sub-metropolitan City has been providing food and hygiene kits free of cost to Nepalis returning home from India via Trinagar border checkpoint since March. The Sub-metropolis has been providing food for Nepalis who are tired after a long journey from India since the time Read More...

Nepal COVID-19 Update: 1207 new cases, 1147 recoveries, eight fatalities recorded Saturday

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. As of today, 978,204 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method have been carried where Read More...