THT 10 years ago: Media panel for 49 pc FTI

Kathmandu, September 15, 2006

The high-level media commission headed by Radheshyam Adhikari today submitted its recommendations to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.

The latter has pledged to implement the same. The panel has suggested that foreign transparent investment (FTI) in all national-level media should be allowed with a ceiling of 49 per cent.

It, however, adds that the management head and the editorial staff should be Nepali citizens. Other suggestions include ensuring Press freedom and right to information and institutional development of the media houses.

The panel has stressed the need to effect constitutional and legal changes to achieve the objectives. It has also been suggested to set up Information and Communication Commission and National Broadcasting Authority to regulate and implement code of conduct for electronic and digital media.

The panel has stated that the preamble of the new constitution should stress the role of media in the restoration of democracy. The constitution should clearly mention the fundamental right to information and prohibit intervention in Press freedom.

“Special quota should be set aside for women, backward communities, indigenous people, Dalits, Madheshis and the disabled in mass communication jobs,” it stressed. It has urged to formulate laws for professional and working journalists.

The media promoting local language speakers and their culture should be given incentives and facilities, it adds.

The government should let private sector run Gorkhapatra, while Nepal Television and Radio Nepal should be transformed into public broadcasting institutions, stresses the panel.

Nod to share-trading with Army Welfare Fund

The Parliamentary State Affairs Committee members today decided not to allow the army to spend the Welfare Fund on business ventures, but agreed to let it deal in stock market with the amount.

“It has been agreed to let army buy shares, as there is compulsion of investing the money its Welfare Fund has,” said the SAC Chairman, Hirdaya Ram Thani.

The army today revealed that its controversial Welfare Fund has over Rs 10.29 billion, the annual intereston which works out to be Rs 720 million.

Chief of the Welfare Fund, Brig Gen Kumar KC, apprised the Parliamentary State Affairs Committee of the fund during the clause-wise discussion on the bill proposed to amend and integrate Acts related to the army.

The Welfare Fund, raised by 12 per cent contribution of the soldiers serving in the UN peacekeeping missions, came into existence in 1975.

The fund, is being utilised in operating schools, training troops going to UN peacekeeping missions, providing health services to the soldiers’ families, providing economic assistance to the soldiers and constructing soldiers’ family quarters.