Acting Prime Minister discusses media council bill with editors

06/13/2019

Kathmandu, June 13: At a time when the media council bill has drawn criticism from media fraternity and freedom of expression defenders including Federation of Nepali Journalists, Acting Prime Minister Ishwor Pokharel held a discussion with the editors at Singha Durbar today. At the meeting also attended by Nepal Communist Party parliamentary party's deputy leader Subash Nembang, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Gokul Banskota, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Bhanubhakta Dhakal, and NCP lawmaker Yogesh Bhattarai, Acting PM Pokharel said, "Government is ready to clear the hurdles with discussion on problematic topics on the bill rather than withdrawing or revising it. Such discussion would help reach a conclusion, he hoped, informing that additional discussion could be held on it after the Prime Minister KP Oli returns home. He however admitted that there was confusion on many sectors at present because the laws and structures to fit the changed political system were yet to be made. On the occasion, deputy leader Nembang viewed such discussion would be positive and PM Oli was positive to address the genuine concern over the bill. He made commitment that the bill would be passed with revision to abide by the spirit of the full freedom of press as mentioned in the constitution. "We're communist, but not in communist system. We believe in periodic election, Nembang underscored. The editors reminded that press had played significant role in country's democratic movements. The government formed after the democratic movements must not bring the law to suppress press. They also urged the government to withdraw the bill and hold broader discussion. As Nepal is an open society, press freedom can not be trampled, they underscored. On the occasion, the editors also said they were serious to abide by the code. The discussion was attended by editors- Narayan Wagle, Gunaraj Luitel, Hari Bahadur Thapa, Shuva Shankar Kandel, Prateek Pradhan, Amit Dhakal, Krishna Jwala Devkota, Prakash Rimal, Shambhu Shrestha, Kishor Shretha, Om Sharma, Kiran Nepal, Sagar Pandit, Purna Basnet, Nitu Pandit, Subash Ghimire, Arunn Baral, Basanta Basnet and others. The bill was registered at the upper house of the parliament of April 9. Concerns are shown by the media on the provisions relating to punishment, appointment of officials at council and others and others. RSS

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