Tuesday, 19 May 2009 00:00
NepalPressFreedom.org is a website dedicated to the cause of press freedom and freedom of expression in general. This website was originally conducted by Freedom Forum Nepal as a tool for disseminating information on widespread curbs and violations of press freedom following the Royal takeover of state powers on February 1, 2005.
The site has now been adopted as the official website of Freedom Forum tom impart information to those individuals and organizations working in the similar area across the globe about the incidents of press freedom violation in Nepal. It has become the effective means to lobby for the promotion and protection of press freedom and freedom of expression and opinion as well as to garner support within the country and internationally in this connection
The history of Nepali press is not very old (click Nepali Media for details). But the role played by Nepali press in disseminating information as well as educating the people about the value of civil rights and freedom is indeed quite remarkable.
With the country's tumultuous political history, Nepali Press has experienced both sour and sweet moments. Interestingly, however, the good times are associated with Democracy and bad times with the suppression of Democracy in the country from the state and the rising trend of press freedom violations.
After considerable suffering, the press heaved a sigh of relief with the fall of Ranas and inception of Democracy in 1951. But the joys of freedom granted by newly found democracy was short-lived as Democracy was throttled in less than ten years in 1960, when King Mahendra overthrew the elected government and introduced the party-less Panchayat system.
The restoration of Democracy in 1990 again came as a boon to the Nepali press. During the entire decade of the nineties, the press witnessed a tremendous rise. New and more competitive broadsheet daily newspapers came to the scene at the private sector and broadcast and online media also started making their presence conspicuous. Media was successful to establish a domain in the people's hearts as an essential and inevitable component of progressive modern society.
However, the days turned dark again with the King Gyanendra coming into the power dissolving elected Parliament and overthrowing the democratically elected government in October, 2002.
The absence of parliament and unstable political situation culminated in the King's direct intervention on February 1, 2005, when His Majesty King Gyanendra dismissed a multi-party government and assumed all State powers on him. This was coupled with a declaration of a nationwide State of Emergency, massive censorship drive and curbs on freedom of press as well as arrests, threats and prosecution to journalists and other media professionals.
Equally suppressive were the Maoist insurgents who took the life of several journalists over the past ten years during people's war and even after joining the mainstream politics in 2006, simply for not supporting their ideals. The Maoist highhandedness against journalists ranged from the ordinary acts of barring reporters from collecting information and threats and intimidation of various sorts including abductions, to the heinous acts of killings or assassinations.
The situation has not yet improved. Media in Nepal continues to face suppression and risks of various sorts by Madhes-based parties and groups who staged movement seeking their identity and respectful representation in the state mechanism. Journalists were also made the subject of attack and atrocity even during the much-awaited historic Constituent Assembly (CA) elections for their works. It means that the magnitude of suppression has not been reduced in a significant as expected following the restoration of democracy. Therefore, some concrete initiatives are still imperative to mitigate the extent of brutality and crime against journalists and journalism field and to ensure promotion of and protection of the third estate of the state. And this website seeks to provide up-to-date information on the situation of Nepali Press vis-à-vis the state of press freedom and freedom of expression contributing for the peace and democracy.
Press Freedom Report-2012
Website on Election and Media