Writing news does not amount to contempt of court: FNJ

  • Says all state bodies should respect freedom of press
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 8, 2018-The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) has said it stands firm in its belief that writing news report does not amount to contempt of court. The umbrella body of Nepali journalists has expressed its reservations over the contempt of court case against Kantipur daily for publishing news reports.

Speaking at a press meet organised after the meeting of FNJ central committee in Janakpur on Wednesday, FNJ President Govinda Acharya said all state bodies should respect the freedom of press.

“All state bodies including the executive, judiciary and legislative should respect the freedom of the press,” said Chairman Acharya, “All these state organs should work towards making laws that are not against the press freedom.”

FNJ General Secretary Ramesh Bista said the federation stands firm and is committed to the belief that writing and publishing news reports do not amount to contempt of court.

A contempt of court case against Kantipur daily has been referred to a full bench of the Supreme Court (SC). The full bench is scheduled to hear the case on March 11.

The case was sent to full bench after the apex court recorded statements of four defendants — Kantipur Media Group Chairman and Managing Director Kailash Sirohiya, Director Swastika Sirohiya, Kantipur Editor-in-Chief Sudheer Sharma and correspondent Krishna Gyawali.

In its statement, Kantipur Publications denied publishing any news that defames the judiciary and submitted a 13-page document to the court after their statements.

The document states that contents of the order issued in the name of Press Council Nepal are directly linked to Parajuli and aimed at resolving controversies surrounding him.

“We have concluded that CJ Parajuli issued the contempt of court order by abusing his authority. Our news reports were supported by facts and aimed to inform the public, which cannot be a subject of contempt of court,” the document argues. In an interim order on February 25, CJ Parajuli directed the Press Council to probe news reports published by Kantipur regarding inconsistencies in his birth date as shown by his official documents.

National and international journalists’ bodies have condemned the CJ’s move calling it a clear case of prior censorship. Meanwhile, the FNJ meeting also decided to hold provincial election of the FNJ in all seven provinces on May 5. The FNJ has issued an 18-point Janakpurdham Declaration drawing the government’s attention towards the delay in forming Media Training Academy.

The federation has also demanded the government take ahead the training academy at the centre and provinces. Stating the online media directive brought earlier by the government was against press freedom, the FNJ has demanded the government withdraw the directive.

Published: 08-03-2018 07:37

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