66 incidents of press freedom violations reported in 2017

KATHMANDU: With the increase in political activity there has been a rise in number of acts pertaining to press freedom violation in the Country, Freedom Forum reported.

Freedom Forum on Monday published its Annual Media Report stating that, there were 66 incidents of press freedom violations with 230 media workers were directly affected by such acts. In contrast, only 25 incidents were reported during 2016, the report asserted.

However, in 2017, 16 assaults, 13 arrests, 11 obstacles, 11 manhandling and nine cases of threat to murder against media persons were reported.

The Forum which has been monitoring status of press freedom, states in its report that Province 3 has the highest number of reported incidents with 34 cases of press freedom violation.

Likewise, Province 1 reported two incidents and Province 2 saw 10 incidents. Similarly, Province 4, 5, 6 and 7 reported three, six, three and eight acts of violations against press freedom respectively.

Comparing the statistics between districts, the Forum found out that Kathmandu District alone report 22 such incidents hinting at lack of security to press community.

“There were no policy level changes easing the state of press freedom during 2017,” the report states, “Although there were demands to repeal the Electronic Transactions Act, the act remained valid narrowing down freedom of opinion.”

Furthermore, the study has found that although the revised version of  General Code is functional, many provisions in the Code are not press-friendly.

Likewise, the report pointed out that employees in security bodies and civil service must respect freedom of opinion and press freedom as they are more involved in violations against press freedom.

Despite, oral commitments from political parties to respect press freedom, violent acts performed by political parties hindered media workers from utilizing freedom of opinion.

“With the conclusion of three tier elections a fundamental ground for the implementation of the Constitution was built, however, reporters found it difficult to disseminate information on election related activities,” Executive officer at the Forum, Tara Nath Dahal said, “Moreover, increase in violations against press freedom hints at a lack of media friendly environment.”