KATHMANDU – Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, has clarified that law related to communications was introduced to regulate media, not to bring it under control and to curtail press freedom and right to expression.
Receiving the memorandum submitted by the Federation of Nepali Journalists regarding the impact of COVID-19 and media related laws on journalism sector today, Minister Karki opined that the government was committed to press freedom and rule of law. He gave assurances that the government would move ahead by holding discussion with stakeholders for press freedom and development of journalism.
Saying arrangement of Journalist Advancement Fund has been made for the respect of senior journalists, the Communications Minister added that a guideline for the free health service of journalists has been passed. Similarly, FNJ President, Bipul Pokharel, said that National Broadcasting Regulations (11th amendment)-2078 has created some confusion, adding it was necessary to make it further clear.
Stating that different laws brought by erstwhile government without participation of stakeholders have provisions of anti-press freedom, he urged to correct it. Likewise, senior vice-president Ramesh Bista shared that small-scale media faced more impact due to COVID-19 and urged to provide concessional loan to them.
The FNJ also demanded the government to take initiative to release journalist Umakanta Pandey arrested in the UAE. Press Council Nepal member Thakur Belbase said that discussion was underway with stakeholders regarding regulating new media.