Nepal | August 04, 2020

‘Regulate particular content, media, not entire industry’

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
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KATHMANDU, JULY 10

Freedom Forum, a civil society organisation, issued a press release condemning cable operators’ decision to halt broadcast of Indian news channels, except Doordarshan, over misleading and defamatory content about Nepal.

Freedom Forum said service providers and media carriers under no circumstances could decide whether to block or unblock the media, since they were not the institution to regulate such actions.

“This trend is specially condemnable as it sets a dangerous precedent where any institution without authority can be involved in content regulation in the future,” FF said in its release.

FF said it was concerned about the action where drastic measures were taken against all news channels without investigating which particular channel violated ethics of journalism. “However, adopting drastic actions against all media without pointing out the one which committed the mistake, is against the notion of democracy and the rule of law,” read the release.

It urged the stakeholders to act as per the law and take measures against the particular news channel, not all.

Otherwise, it will jeopardise the rights of the public to receive free, fair, and unbiased information.

The ban came in the wake of unfounded reports by some Indian media on Nepal including defamatory remarks and commentaries on Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Chinese envoy to Nepal. The cable operators have claimed that they took the decision on their own and not by the Government of Nepal.

FF highlighted the need of seeking appropriate legal measure if any media content was against the interest of Nepal. The government should recognise the concerned media and the specific contents which violated the state’s interest, it said.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 11, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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