Next year to be year of security and respect for Nepali journalism: Minister Banskota

05/03/2019

Kathmandu, May 3: Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Gokul Prasad Banskota hs said the coming year is going to be the year of security and respect for the Nepali journalism sector. Addressing a programme organised by Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), UNESCO and the Election Commission here today commemorating the 16th International Press Freedom Day, he said the government did not have any plan of restricting the press freedom and reiterated that the situation in which a journalist has to suffer merely for writing news would be put to an end. The media house should not be made a place for fulfilling anyone's vested interests, he said, adding that the media house should be responsible to the people and not the government. Vowing to get the minimum wage of journalists implemented in every media house, the Communications Minister said the exploitation of the working journalists would not be acceptable henceforth. Stating that the government was trying to regulate the social networking sites, he said this was the principle that is in practice the world over. The Communications and Information Technology Minister urged the media houses to disseminate reliable information and earn the public trust, saying a serious question has cropped up regarding the credibility of news these days. Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Thapaliya said numerically the Nepali media has increased but its quality has decreased. Talking about election system, he said he has initiated the process of completely transforming the election system. Acting chairman of Press Council Nepal, Kishor Shrestha, FNJ president Govinda Acharya and FNJ former president Harihar Birahai, among the speakers said impunity was increasing in the country as the murderers of journalists who were killed during the conflict period have not faced action from the state. They opined that time has come to find out whether the journalists were also culpable of violation of press freedom. On the occasion, FNJ conferred the 'Press Freedom Fighter Honour' on FNJ former president Dharmendra Jha and senior journalists Gopal Guragain and Sangeeta Lama. Minister Banskota honoured them by presenting shawl and letter of honour. On the occasion, FNJ also made public 'Press Swatantrata (Press Freedom)', a magazine, and an annual report on journalists' security that it published. The report states that there were 60 incidents of violation of press freedom affecting 77 journalists and five media houses. It mentions the killing of Manohar Dhakal, a journalist based in Makawanpur who was murdered by drug addicts while returning home from his office. Similarly, it states that 12 journalists were arrested, one was missing, six journalists were taken hostage, 15 journalists came under assault and 25 journalists faced mistreatment and life threats in 2075 BS. The FNJ has stated that although there has been some decrease in the incidents of violation of press freedom this year as compared to the last year, the situation of press freedom and journalists' security could not be considered satisfactory. RSS

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