Govt has tried to control private media and freedom of speech by abusing cyber laws and criminal code

Kathmandu, December 11

The Nepali Congress has stated that the government’s activities have strengthened doubts that it is headed towards totalitarianism.

In its political proposal tabled in the party’s ongoing Central Working Committee meeting today, the party has charged that the government has been indifferent towards federalism and is creating hurdles to expansion of ownership of the constitution, concentrating power at the prime minister’s office, making efforts to suppress voices of dissent and interfering with media and freedom of speech.

According to the proposal, the government has not only interfered with the state-run media, but has also tried to control private sector media and freedom of speech by ‘abusing’ cyber laws and criminal code.

“The NC condemns the government’s blatant interference with citizens’ rights and demands annulment of laws that curb press freedom and freedom of speech,” reads the proposal to be presented in the Maha Samiti gathering on Friday after a go-ahead from the CWC.

None of Nepal’s past prime ministers probably had the conducive environment that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli enjoys, but he apparently does not have the ability to cash in on the opportunity to take the country towards rapid economic growth, adds the proposal.

It states that two communist parties (CPN-UML and CPN-MC) coming from different backgrounds and ideological bases unified to become the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) not on the foundation of ideology, but on the basis of their intention to grab power.

It adds that the NCP, immediately after garnering two-thirds majority, started going against the spirit of the constitution, raising doubts about its commitment to democracy.

Stating that it is an ideological victory for the NC that the two communist parties strongly opposed to parliamentary democracy have adopted the system, the proposal adds that the NC is ready to cooperate with the government on fronts of development, good governance and political stability, if the ruling party ditches its totalitarian mindset.

On Madhes-based parties, the proposal states that the issues they are raising, such as regional extremism, casteism and communalism, are not concurrent with federalism and democracy.

The proposal also castigates royalist parties, including factions of Rastriya Prajatantra Party, claiming that some have little commitment to the democratic system, while others are yet to establish their ideologies.

The proposal adds that the country’s foreign policy should be based on national unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty, principles of peaceful coexistence, United Nations charter and promotion of national interest.

“Keeping in mind the geopolitical, strategic and diplomatic sensitivity of land-locked Nepal, multi-faceted relations with neighbours should be strengthened,” states the proposal.

The proposal calls for promotion of inclusiveness to address concerns of the marginalised, Dalits, women, indigenous nationalities, children, differently-abled people and socially and economically backward classes.