Media can’t flower sans democracy: Leaders

Kathmandu, November 20:

Political leaders today emphasised the importance of democracy for the media to freely do its job. The fight for restoration of democracy, according to them, should be the main focus after which all other rights will fall into place.

“Press freedom and democracy are interrelated. Democracy is necessary for the media to function freely; therefore political movement is the need of the hour,” said Narhari Acharya, Nepali Congress leader. Acharya said media control began from October 4, 2002, but became more evident from February 1, 2005. He was speaking at a programme, “Free Media for Human Rights” organised by the Human Rights and Peace Society (HURPES) here today.

He added that the Constitution died the day the king took over. “Can we say have a constitution in the absence of judicial autonomy?” he asked. Political cases cannot be solved in courts when lawyers are forced to participate in protest programmes. The legal profession too has taken a political form, he added.

CPN-UML leader Shankar Pokharel said that democracy is equally important for the media to fucntion freely and effectively. Expressing concern over the attack against the media, he said, “Dark days are ahead and the country is going back to the Panchayat era.” He further said the media clampdown began right since the incident of June1, 2001 when “we had to rely on the international media to get news of the turn of events in Nepal.”

FNJ warning to scribes

Chitwan: The Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) is to take actions against its members who refuse to cooperate in its stir programmes.

Central chairman of the FNJ, Bishnu Nisthuri, during a meet with the Chitwan-based journalists, and giving directions to FNJ Chitwan chapter chairman Janak Aryal, said: “The Federation of Nepalese Journalists will be forced to take actions against those members who resist the Federation. The district should send a list of such FNJ members to the centre.”

FNJ central general secretary Mahendra Bista said the central committee would make a decision on stir programmes on November 30. —HNS