Attempt to kill private media: NMS

Kathmandu, October 10

Nepal Media Society has flayed the government’s recent moves that discriminate against the private media and are aimed at controlling them.

The government’s moves — from the penal code and laws related to privacy to prioritising state-owned media while selling advertisements and raising journalists’ salaries — are meant to control private media, the society stated in a press release issued today.

The umbrella body of publishers termed the government’s decision to raise journalists’ salaries by 25 per cent ‘irrelevant’ and ‘laughable’, while it said the circular to prioritise state media was ‘against liberal democracy’.

“The twin decisions raise questions whether the government intends to shut down private media,” read the release undersigned by the society’s Chairman Subha Shankar Kadel. “Therefore, the society urges the government to correct its decisions that would pose a hurdle to practices of liberal democracy and free media.”

The society also warned of ‘consequences’ if the government did not correct its moves.

At a time when economic activity in the country was not growing as expected and advertising industry was slowing down, the government’s decisions would severely hit media houses that solely depended on advertising income, the society added. “It is unfortunate that the government has taken the decision when ad revenue is dwindling and publishers’ investment is increasing.”

According to the society, the issue of journalists’ pay — determined by the demand and supply situation of the market — should not be a matter of concern for the government. “The government should not be involved in such propaganda just for the sake of cheap popularity,” read the release.