Cabinet to share its decisions only once a week

  • Prime Minister Oli warns ministers not to divulge decisions to media
It’s good to disseminate proper information after a day or two instead of misinforming the people Gokul Prasad Banskota Minister for Communication and Information Technology

Nov 16, 2018-Claiming that dissemination of “immature” information had misled the people, the government has further tightened the publicity of Cabinet decisions. Starting Thursday, there will be weekly conferences to share major government decisions with the media.

The government of the powerful Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has put an end to the practice of sharing Cabinet decisions soon after they are passed, which was set after the political changes of 1990 and institutionalised in 2006, by deciding to disseminate the decisions only once a week. The government held on to its position despite public uproar against the new policy.

At the meeting of the Council of Ministers in Baluwatar on Thursday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli warned the ministers not to leak the Cabinet decisions before they mature.

At the first press briefing organised on Thursday, Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Banskota refused to reveal the decisions of the latest Cabinet meeting, which would be shared next Thursday.

“Cabinet made some appointments today as well. I would challenge investigative reporters to dig them out,” said Banskota, the government spokesperson. Earlier, some ministers had informed the media about the nomination of ambassadors for three foreign missions.

Trying to justify the government’s curbs, Banskota said the news on Cabinet decisions often misled the audience as the media carried them “without proper verification”. “Ministries proposing the decision can revoke or correct them within 24 hours,” Banskota said, adding that all the government wanted to do was manage the information dissemination process.

“It’s good to disseminate proper information after a day or two instead of misinforming the people,” he argued.

The Communication Ministry is also preparing to provide digital copies of the decisions to the media after some weeks.

Following the Cabinet meeting on November 11, Banskota had told journalists that he would share the decisions only after making another arrangement.

Journalists’ groups and campaigners and organisations advocating right to information have opposed the government’s move as an effort to curb the people’s right to know.

Published: 16-11-2018 07:26

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