Nepal | June 04, 2020

Nepal slips 6 ranks on RSF index

• PRESS FREEDOM

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, April 21

Nepal has dropped six places on the global Press Freedom Index to rank 112th out of 180 countries for 2020.

The country had ranked 106th on the index released by Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres in 2019.

According to the report published today, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli sang praises of press freedom and pluralism when he was in opposition, but after becoming prime minister in February 2018, he tried to gag journalists by getting the Parliament to pass extremely draconian legislation. The new criminal code adopted in August 2018 contains several provisions that hamper investigative reporting and restrict criticism of public figures.

“The government has also tried to get the Parliament to pass a law provisioning a journalistic content regulator whose members would be named directly by the executive. Another disturbing development is the ‘anti-media rhetoric’, which government representatives have started using and which has been widely reproduced in government newspapers, radio stations and TV channels. With the threat of prosecution and continuing violence in the field, the environment for journalists working for independent media outlets has been extremely difficult,” it warned.

Similarly, Bhutan ranked 67th, Maldives 79th, Afghanistan 122nd, Sri Lanka 127th, India 142nd, Pakistan 145th and Bangladesh 151st in South Asia.

The 2020 edition of the index, which evaluates the situation for journalists each year in 180 countries and territories, suggests that the next ten years will be pivotal for press freedom because of converging crises affecting the future of journalism – geopolitical crisis, technological crisis, democratic crisis, crisis of trust and economic crisis.

These five areas of crisis — the effects of which the Index’s methodology allows us to evaluate — are now compounded by a global public health crisis. “We are entering a decisive decade for journalism linked to crises that affect its future,” RSF Secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “The coronavirus pandemic illustrates the negative factors threatening the right to reliable information, with the pandemic itself an exacerbating factor. What will freedom of information, pluralism and reliability look like in 2030? The answer to that question is being determined today.”

According to the report, there is a clear correlation between suppression of media freedom in response to the coronavirus pandemic and a country’s ranking in the Index. “The public health crisis provides authoritarian governments with an opportunity to implement the notorious ‘shock doctrine’ – to take advantage of the fact that politics are on hold, the public is stunned and protests are out of the question, in order to impose measures that would be impossible in normal times,” Deloire added.

Norway tops the Index for the fourth year in a row in 2020, while Finland is again the runner-up. North Korea has taken the last position from Turkmenistan, while Eritrea continues to be Africa’s worst-ranked country.


A version of this article appears in print on April 22, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Brazil

Brazil sets another record for daily coronavirus deaths

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil registered another record number of novel coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Tuesday evening, as the pandemic in Latin America's largest country shows no signs of slowing down. The nation registered 28,936 additional cases of the nove Read More...

High-level panel to decide on easing lockdown by tomorrow

KATHMANDU, JUNE 2 The High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 formed under Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence Ishwar Pokharel will decide in a day or two whether or not to ease the lockdown. Member Secretary of the committee Narayan Prasad Bi Read More...

FIFA adds voice to protests over Floyd's death

BERN: World soccer's governing body FIFA has joined sports leagues, teams and players around the globe to express solidarity amid outrage over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in the United States. The National Football League, National Hockey League an Read More...

Nepal's ruling party stresses dialogue with India to resolve territorial dispute 

Kathmandu, June 2  Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Narayan Kaji Shrestha urged India to sit for dialogue with Nepal to resolve Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani issues. He welcomed Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's remark about resolving border disputes with Nepal through dia Read More...

Nepali Congress registers statute amendment bill 

Kathmandu, June 2 The main opposition Nepali Congress today registered a private constitution amendment bill at the Parliament Secretariat seeking to change the constitution's provisions related to citizenship, language, provincial boundaries and formation of a boundary commission. Eight Nepal Read More...

Dhangadi  quarantine

Quarantines in Sudurpaschim bursting at seams 

Dhangadhi, June 2  With the increasing number of returnees from India, the quarantine facilities in Sudupaschim Province are almost packed. The number of migrant workers returning home from India is increasing every day. According to Kailali District Administration Office, around 5,000 Read More...

Nine businessmen held for gambling, remanded to custody 

Kathmandu, June 2 Nine businessmen, some of whom are ‘well-known faces’ in the business fraternity, were sent to five-day police custody after being arrested from a gambling den last night. Deputy Superintendent of Police Raj Kumar KC, also the spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Range,  Read More...

PCR tests of all quarantined persons fraught with problems 

Kathmandu, June 2  The Ministry of Health and Population said that implementing the Supreme Court’s order to conduct tests for coronavirus on all quarantined persons across the country using polymerase chain reaction method was a daunting task. Earlier, the Supreme Court had issued an order Read More...