Violations of press freedom up: Report

- Rastriya Samachar Samiti, Kathmandu

Jan 2, 2019-

The year 2018 saw a sharp increase in cases of press freedom violations in Nepal, according to a report prepared by Freedom Forum.

The organisation recorded 98 incidents of press freedom violations, the highest in the last six years, that directly affected at least 223 journalists in 2018. Sixty-six cases of press freedom violations were reported in 2017.

The government behaviour towards access to information, media freedom and

journalists became more restrictive last year. Several drafts of laws and regulations which are under consideration are not press-friendly, the report mentions. It adds that the drafts of media laws prepared by federal and provincial governments have been designed to curtail media rights.

According to the report, Province 3 witnessed the highest number of press freedom violations (35) followed by Province 2 (14) and Province 4 (12).

Security personnel were involved in 40 cases of press freedom violations.

 Four journalists were detained invoking the article 47 of Electronic Transaction Act (ETA), though the law is not related to media or journalists.

Fifty-two court cases were filed four years ago (fiscal year 2070/71 BS) which rose to 104 last year (fiscal year 2074/75 BS). In majority of the cases, the report says, Section 47 of the ETA was cited to charge defendants with cyber crime, which was prominent in cases where people were expressing their views online.   

Freedom of expression on social media is under direct threat as more and more people are being detained for sharing their views, the report states.

The report recommends the government to ensure and respect press freedom and freedom of expression. It also calls on journalists’ organisations affiliated to different political parties to form a common position to defend press freedom and freedom of expression.

Published: 02-01-2019 07:46

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