‘Govt in favour of free, independent media’

Kathmandu, September 7

Amidst heavy criticism, the government has been facing after it tabled the controversial Media Council Bill in the National Assembly, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali today said the government would do the needful to ensure free press and press freedom.

Speaking at a programme organised by the World Communicators’ Council-Nepal Chapter, Minister Gyawali defended the government saying that it was always in favour of free and independent media and it would create media-friendly environment.

“The main thing for media these days is credibility,” he added. He also said that the government would go ahead with the bill only after necessary consultations with stakeholders. He also said legislation of the bills belong to the Parliament.

Gyawali said people should differentiate between criticism and cynicism. “We should welcome criticism, not cynicism,” he added.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of the National Information Commission Yasoda Timilsina said the government should consult with the stakeholders before introducing any bills.

“The country has recently come out of the political transition, but the media sector of the country is going through a transition phase,” she added.

However, General Secretary of Federation of Nepali Journalists Ramesh Bista accused the government of not consulting with stakeholders while drafting the media bill.

“I request the government to initiate discussion with stakeholders,” he said, adding that the gap between the government and media should be bridged.

Moreover, Ishowri Oja also accused the government of not including the FNJ’s suggestions in the bill tabled in the Upper House.

During the programme, names of the 19 members of the WCC-Nepal Chapter were announced.

The chapter is led by Laxman Dutta Pant.