Kathmandu, May 23
Senior leader of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Bamdev Gautam, today issued a press release urging the government and the concerned bodies not to pass Nepal Media Council Bill.
Stating that journalism was the pillar of democracy, Gautam expressed concern about controversial provisions in the bill that could prove detrimental to press freedom. “Independent journalists speak for those who cannot raise their voice. They are also the watchdog and mirror of the society. That’s why, press has been accepted as the fourth estate,” Gautam was quoted as saying in his release.
Gautam said the state should create conducive environment for free press and professional journalists to work independently, impartially and fearlessly. “Therefore, I urge the government and all concerned stakeholders to withdraw the controversial provisions from the Media Council Bill and not to forward the bill in its current form,” Gautam said.
The NCP leader also called on mediapersons not to indulge in character assassination or do anything with ill-motive. He urged mediapersons not to ignore issues of national interest.
Gautam said there was a need to revise the bill in order to make it compatible with the letter and spirit of the constitution.
“I fully back the argument that all entities — the government, political parties and the press — should be responsible and disciplined in discharging their duties. However, a harsh provision to impose a fine of Rs 1 million just because somebody has written a particular news story cannot be justified,” he stated in his release.
Media Council Bill is being considered by the National Assembly in the Parliament.
A version of this article appears in print on May 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.