Wednesday, October 17, 2018
   
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Journalist barred from reporting in a parliament committee for the third time

Yet again, the State Affairs Committee of the parliament has barred the journalists from reporting the committee meeting during the briefing from Defense Minister Ishwar Pokharel about the activities of the ministry on Tuesday, October 2.

This is the third time that the journalists were barred from reporting in the meeting of the committee. Earlier journalists were barred from reporting during the briefing from security agency heads and briefing from Home Ministry about the probe on rape and murder of teenage girl Nirmala Pant.

As per the information from Province 3 Representative for FF, Ashok Dahal, the newly elected Chairperson Shashi Shrestha of ruling Nepal Communist Party instructed journalists, including photo journalists and video journalists, to leave the meeting hall citing security sensitivity in meeting. Journalists were stopped outside during the meeting by the marshals citing the order from the committee chairperson.

The committee was scheduled to hold discussion on performance of Defense Ministry with Minister Pokharel.

The growing trend of excluding the journalists from the parliament committee not only affects the right to information of general citizen, but also a regressive towards the open parliament practice internalized my many democratic countries.

At a time when many countries are opting for the open parliament to show increased commitment to openness and citizen engagement in parliamentary work, committee action to bar journalist is condemnable.

Hence, FF strongly urges the State Affairs Committee and other committees of parliament to promote the culture of openness and make its information and decision as transparent as possible. Also, it should make sure information is broadly accessible to all citizens on non-discriminatory basis through multiple channels. For this journalist should have access to the meetings held in the parliament.

 

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