Pokhara, May 17
Agitating journalists took to the streets and staged sit-in protests against the Media Council Bill tabled at the Parliament, across the country today.
Led by Kaski Chapter of Federation of Nepali Journalists, journalists kept diaries, laptops, cameras, ball pens and recorders on the street and staged a sit-in in Pokhara. They staged the sit-in for half -an-hour demanding that the bill aimed at controlling press freedom be withdrawn immediately.
Addressing a corner meeting after the sit-in, FNJ central member Ram Krishna Gyawali said the government had tried to strip journalists of their right to write and speak, by presenting the bill in the Parliament. He stressed the need to be united to fight for press freedom and freedom of expression.
Gandaki Province Chair of Federation of Nepali Journalists Tribhuvan Poudel urged all journalists to put pressure on the government to withdraw the bill tabled in the Parliament. He argued that it was deplorable to gag journalists who fought side by side with politicians for democratic republic in the country.
Free Journalists’ Federation former central chair Krishna Prasad Bastola asked all journalists to be united against the draconian bill. Likewise, journalists working in Makawanpur staged a rally with cameras, diaries, pens and laptops from Heatuda’s Sima Chowk to the building of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Addressing a corner meeting at Sima Chowk, Province 3 FNJ Chapter Chair Pratap Bista said that his organisation was actively working to remove the anti-press provisions in the bill.
More than a dozen journalists working in Dhankuta wore black armbands and displayed media tools on the street, in protest. Civil society leaders and intellectuals were also present in the rally.
Similarly, journalists hit the streets against the bill in Khotang, Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Bara, Parsa and Rautahat, among other districts.
A version of this article appears in print on May 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.