KATHMANDU : President Bidya Devi Bhandari has called for the full abidance of the Journalists Code of Conduct for the consolidation of democracy. Addressing the 51st Anniversary Programme of the Press Council Nepal at the President House in Shital Niwas today, the Head of the State underscored the need for a complete adherence to the Code in order to make democracy stronger by rendering the mass communication media responsible.
Stating that journalism, the fourth organ of the state, is an important means for strengthening democracy, the President stated that democracy cannot be conceived without freedom of expression and right to information.
Describing responsible journalism, well-informed citizens and an accountable government as the inevitable elements of democracy, President Bhandari said, “I hope the several weaknesses witnessed in the mass media sector would gradually go away through the continuous practice of democracy; and expect that all journalists will abide by the Journalists Code of Conduct.”
She reiterated the need for a more effective role of the Press Council for the full abidance of the Journalists Code of Conduct. “Baseless and false news and misleading views are found published and broadcast in many media in the name of freedom of expression with disregard to even the journalism code and professional ethics,” the President said, adding, “Dissemination of false and misleading information along with the advancement of new technology in the information and communication fields has become a global challenge. In the context of Nepal, the Press Council’s role should be further stronger to face this challenge.”
The President praised the Press Council Nepal for its works regarding the monitoring and investigation of the media sector for the protection of the people’s right to information and for its attempts towards legal action by identifying the media and journalists violating the Journalists Code.
Saying that she was informed about the challenges journalists in Nepal are facing, the President shared that she was unhappy with the sufferings of the media houses and media persons globally this year due to the pandemic COVID-19.
“Journalists were deployed in news dissemination even during such a vulnerable time due to COVID-19 and they are still working. I highly appraise the journalism sector’s unrelenting fulfilment of its professional responsibility even during such tough times,” the President said.
“I wish for the speedy recovery of all those who have contracted the virus, President Bhandari added. The mass media sector is serving the people’s happiness, peace and prosperity journey, the President shared her observation.
Stating that the mass media sector should play an effective role in encouraging the country’s and materializing the nation’s common aspiration of happiness, peace and prosperity, she said that journalism should be a crucial tool to contribute to environmental protection and unveil the sensitivities caused due to climate change.
The media should draw the attention of all stakeholders to areas of food security, sanitation, clean drinking water, quality education and public health, she stated. Prior to this, the President gave the ‘Press Council Gopaldas Journalism Prize’ to senior journalism Shambhu Shrestha, the ‘Press Council Code of Conduct Prize’ to Amit Dhakal from Setopati and the ‘Pushpalal Memorial National Journalism Prize’ to veteran journalist Hiranyalal Shrestha.