Challenges to press freedom due to several laws: FNJ

05/02/2019

Kathmandu, May 2: Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) has stated that the attempt to restrict press freedom by means of various Acts and laws, despite the very Preamble of the constitution guaranteeing full press freedom, itself was the challenge to press freedom. President of FNJ, the umbrella organisation of journalists in the country, Govinda Acharya stated this in a message of best wishes that he gave on the eve of the World Press Freedom Day, today. In his message Acharya said that various clauses of the Act related to the Country Civil Code and Criminal Code which came into implementation since August 17, 2018 have put restrictions on the freedom of the press. According to him, the number of incidents of violation of press freedom this year is near about the number of similar violations last year, belying the belief that such incidents would be reduced in the backdrop of the formation of stable governments in centre, in the states and in the local levels in 2074 BS. Like in the previous years, incidents of arrest of journalists by the State have outnumbered among the incidents of violation of press freedom, the FNJ stated. The FNJ president said the Federation's Media Monitoring Unit registered 60 press freedom violation cases in 2075 BS, and 77 journalists and five media organisations have been affected due to this. The FNJ said it found that the press and journalists are under attack mainly during the time of political stalemate, movement or conflict. Among the incidents of violation of press freedom, Acharya informed that one journalist has been killed and one has been missing. Journalist Manohar Dhakal based in Makawanpur was killed by narcotics substance smugglers while he was returning home from his office. Likewise, Bajura-based journalist Tejan Khadka disappeared while returning from covering a story from Budhinanda pilgrimage in Bajura. According to the FNJ, the total 12 journalists were arrested and 12 faced ill-treatment. Similarly, 13 faced threats, and 15 attacks. Two incidents of journalists being deprived of news collection has taken place, and two of journalists being obstructed in collecting news. One incident of extortion in media house has been reported. “The act of arresting journalists has limited the freedom of the press and expression,” Acharya said. The act of arresting a journalist again from the premises of a court after their release by a court, and the arrest of a journalist from working place has made the matter worse, he said. The incident of journalists being barred from collecting news from government or public programmes took place this year as well, which is also an act of attack on the free press, said the FNJ. RSS

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