Media fraternity flays top UN official for his remarks

KATHMANDU: A top UN official has met with widespread criticism for his statement against Nepali media, with the media fraternity in Nepal on Friday saying his remarks violated the diplomatic decorum.

At a press meet organised at the UN House in Lalitpur on Wednesday, John Ging, Director, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, had termed media reports that the World Food Programme was supplying substandard and inedible food items to earthquake victims as ‘nonsense’.

The Federation of Nepali Journalists and Nepal Press Union have asked the United Nations to take action against him. “Media have reported about the rotten rice (distributed by WFP) with pictures and television footages,” FNJ General Secretary Ujir Magar said in a statement. “Terming these reports by Ging nonsense is not only in violation of diplomatic decorum and freedom of press and expression but also an interference in Nepal’s nationality and independence,” he added.

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NPU said that the UN official crossed his limit when he went in a damage control mode.

“We call on the government of Nepal to take needful step to initiate action against him,” NPU General Secretary Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti said.

Yesterday, officials of National Human Rights Commission and Ministry of Foreign Affairs had also questioned Ging’s intent for dubbing Nepali media ‘nonsense’.

Almost all leading Nepali broadsheets on Friday carried out editorials criticising Ging’s failure to handle media, saying that he could have tried to clear the matter in decent way.