Nepal | July 02, 2020

Bid to enact restrictive laws opposed

FNJ calls for redrafting controversial Media Council Bill

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
Share Now:

Kathmandu, January 30

The Federation of Nepali Journalists today issued a press release opposing the government and Parliament’s ‘attempt’ to unilaterally enact restrictive laws.

The umbrella body of journalists stated that the parliamentary panel’s decision to propose licensing exam for journalists was objectionable as it was against the spirit of the constitution and press freedom. It said if the controversial provisions of the Media Council Bill were not removed from the bill, it would not accept the Media Council that would be formed after the enactment of the bill.

Media Council should be an independent body which the current bill does not ensure, FNJ added.

It said Media Council should only regulate media without investigating the cases of violation of code of conduct and taking action against violators.

The FNJ said there was a need to enact new laws and amend some laws and bills to fulfil the constitutional purpose but the government must hold adequate consultations with stakeholders before moving any bills in the Parliament.

FNJ added that it repeatedly reminded the government to amend the provisions of the Media Council Bill that contradicted universal norms of press freedom and constitutional provisions.

Legislative Management Committee of the National Assembly had, on January 28, amended some of the clauses of the Media Council Bill.

The FNJ stated that although the House panel removed some of the restrictive provisions of the bill as per its demand, the panel inserted other provisions which the FNJ strongly objected to. The FNJ also wants amendments to the Information Technology Bill to clearly define social networking sites to ensure that the bill’s provisions could not be unfairly used against news portals.

FNJ Chair Govinda Acharya said Section 83 of the bill that criminalised cyber bullying should be removed from the bill as that issue had already been addressed by the new penal code. He said cyber terrorism should be defined as per international law and the IT Bill should be amended to ensure that only a competent court would award punishment in cyber terrorism cases.

The FNJ added that Section 88 of the IT Bill should be amended to remove discretionary powers of the authority who would award punishment to those guilty of crime against sovereignty and public morality as this provision could be unfairly used to curtail freedom of expression.

Acharya added that the IT Bill’s provision that proposed to give powers to government authority to censor posts on social networking sites should be removed from the bill.

He added that the IT Bill’s provision related to defamation and privacy should be removed from the bill as those issues had already been incorporated in the penal code.

He argued that the IT Bill’s proposal to impose fine of up to Rs 1.5 million and jail term up to five years in some cases was too harsh and that should be amended to ensure that punishment provisions are compatible with the punishment proposed in the penal code.


A version of this article appears in print on January 31, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Young adults receive health materials in Bajura's rural municipality

BAJURA: As many as 280 girls and boys have received health and safety materials in Khaptad Chhededaha Rural Municipality of Bajura district. The materials were provided by Mahila Bikas Manch (Women Development Forum) in coordination with the local level. Krishnaa Dani, Programme Coordinator of Read More...

COVID-19 Update: 482 new cases, one death recorded on Wednesday

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, 233,227 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method and 300,620 Rapid Diagn Read More...

PM KP Sharma Oli visits Gangalal Heart Centre for routine check-up

KATHMANDU: Amid tensions escalating in ruling Nepali Communist Party (NCP), party co-chair and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today visited Shahid Gangalal National Heart Centre to get himself checked. It has been learnt that PM Oli went to the hospital for regular health screening. According th Read More...

Absconding convict arrested after 22 years in Tanahun

TANAHUN: Police have arrested an absconding person involved in a road accident after 22 years of being convicted, on Tuesday. Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Yuvaraj Timilsina of District Police Office, Tanahun, said that Laxman Shrestha, 50, of Shuklagandaki Municipality-3 was arrested fro Read More...

Covid-19 cases continue to escalate in Kathmandu, 10+ cases reported two days in a row

KATHMANDU: The number of coronavirus-infection cases in Kathmandu valley are slowly but steadily rising, with the case count exceeding 10 two days in a row. With the confirmation of 17 new cases in the last 24 hours, the valley's case tally has hit 122 on Wednesday. The number of additional ca Read More...

TUTH. Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj

49-day-old infant diagnosed with Covid-19 passes away in Kathmandu

KATHMANDU: A 49-day-old infant diagnosed with Covid-19 passed away on Wednesday evening at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), where he was receiving treatment. Ministry of Health and Population, in its regular press briefing, confirmed the passing of the baby. The infant -- resident o Read More...

India deploys helicopter, 12 drones to stop fast-spreading locusts

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday deployed a helicopter and a dozen drones spraying insecticide to stop desert locusts that have spread to nine heartland states of the world's second-biggest producer of rice and wheat. The move came after swarms invaded Gurugram, a satellite city of the capital N Read More...

Nepali Army sacks Brigadier General, Colonel for defying chain of command

KATHMANDU: The Nepali Army on Wednesday sacked two of its high-ranking officers for offence related to discipline, chain-of-command and military conduct. Brigadier General Surendra Singh Rawal and Colonel Anil Khadka were relieved of duty on being found guilty for going against the military chai Read More...