Bhaktapur Chapter of the Federation of Nepali Journalists has submitted a memorandum to the Bagmati Province government showing serious concern about its plan to establish and run mass media on its own.

The chapter argued in the memorandum that the province government was planning to run its own media with the intention of shutting down television, radio, and newspapers currently being operated in 13 districts.

The chapter submitted the memorandum via Chief District Officer of Bhaktapur Prem Prasad Bhattarai, today. The allocation of Rs 100 million in the recent policy and programme and the annual budget to set up mass media had undoubtedly aimed to stifle the current media, Bhaktapur FNJ concluded.

It further asserted, "We are of firm opinion that Bagamati Province government's plan to own and run media not only smothers media run by private organisations and the community, but also suppresses the free press and public voice, thereby making a mockery of democratic values."

It is stated that Bagmati Province has a large number of media houses.

Almost 66 per cent of the total media run in the country are in Bagmati and 48 per cent of FNJ members are in Bagmati Province. The Bhaktapur Chapter has, however, demanded allocation of financial grants and public advertisement for protection, promotion and capacity building of mass media.

Bhaktapur FNJ has warned of stern agitation if the decision is not taken back on time.

Receiving the memorandum, CDO Bhattarai said it would be forwarded to the province government.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 21, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.