Govt plans to keep tabs on media draw flak

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jul 8, 2015-

Amid concerns over provisions in the draft constitution to curb the press freedom guaranteed by the Interim Constitution, the government has proposed amendments to the code of conduct for the media sector in its policies and programmes unveiled on Wednesday.

The government said the code of conduct was necessary for transmitting information in “reliable and dignified” manner. The document has also included the formulation of legal provision to “regularise the operation of online media”.

The Federation of Nepali Journalists, an umbrella organisation of journalists, has objected both the provision denouncing the government move as suspicious. “The code of conduct is prepared to discipline oneself. “We cannot imagine the government drafting the code of conduct and implementing it as its programme in democracy,” FNJ President Mahendra Bista said in a statement on Wednesday.

Bista argued that the online sector is regulated by press law. “Considering a separate act to regulate the online sector itself is mysterious and dubious,” he added.

The document, however, is silent about the earthquake-affected journalists and media houses. Unlike in the previous policies and programmes, the government has failed to mentioned the academy of mass communications, insurance of journalists and welfare fund for conflict-affected journalists.  

However, the proposal to convert Radio Nepal and Nepal Television into public broadcasting institution, digitising of broadcasting system and formulation of mass media policy, provision to upgrade the capacity of FM radio up to 100 watts in the districts are a few positive sides of the document, said the federation statement.  

Nepali media have already raised concerns over the proposed clause in the draft constitution, which proposes that the government can formulate any laws to regulate the media even if other clauses guarantee press freedom.

Published: 09-07-2015 07:43

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