Nepal | August 07, 2020

FNJ objects to Public Service Broadcasting Bill

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, July 14

The Federation of Nepali Journalists has taken a serious objection to the Public Service Broadcasting Bill, recently registered by Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in the National Assembly.

Issuing a press release, the umbrella organisation of journalists said the government had drafted the bill to maintain its ownership over the public media in contravention of the international norms and generally accepted principles of public service broadcasting. “The government has proposed to further tighten its control over the public media. As per the international practice, a government doesn’t operate media business in a democracy.

Therefore, we are alarmed by the provisions in the bill,” read the press release. It also reminded that the government had repeatedly expressed its commitment to free the state-owned Radio Nepal and Nepal Television from its ownership.

“The government has exposed its undemocratic attitude by registering the bill in the Upper House contrary to its commitment and the provisions stipulated in the existing National Media Policy. Definition of public service broadcasting and provisions related to formation of firm, objectives, organisational structure and appointment of officials are not in compliance with the norms of public service broadcasting,” read the release.

The bill will pave the way for the government to exercise more control over Radio Nepal and NTV and make them more loyal to it. The bill states that a minister or state minister shall be the chairperson of the Public Service Broadcasting Council and secretaries and persons appointed by the government shall act as its members. “This provision is guided by the government’s intention to curtail press freedom. We demand the government to proceed with the bill, only after necessary revision by holding discussion with the stakeholders,” read the release.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 15, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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