Saturday, February 24, 2018
   
Text Size

Press Freedom News

Contempt of court case filed against Kantipur

Freedom forum has expressed serious concern about contempt of court case registered at the Supreme Court (SC) against country’s largest selling broadsheet Kantipur Daily’s publisher, editor and journalist on Tuesday merely for publishing news about Chief Justice mentioning different date of birth on his career documents.

Freedom Forum's stringer for Province 3 Ashok Dahal reported that Advocate Toya Nath Dhungana filed the case at the Apex Court claiming news reports about Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli has defamed the judiciary demanding maximum punishment against the defendants.

Chairman and Managing Director of Kantipur Publications Kailash Sirohiya, Director Swastika Sirohiya, Kantipur Daily Editor-in-Chief Sudheer Sharma and journalist Krishna Gyawali have been made defendants in the writ.

According to the stringer Dahal, Gyawali had written investigative news report unveiled that Chief Justice Parajuli mentioning four different date of birth in his educational certificates, and citizenship certificates. The writ has claimed that the news report has affected the daily work of court, its administrative activities, and verdicts and defames reputation of head of the judiciary.

“I have learnt that the writ petitioner has claimed that the news had secret source, spreaded illusion about the judiciary and disseminating false information,” said stringer Dahal quoting Gyawali.

The publication had also faced defamation case for -publishing news about court’s decisions and other issues in the past.


For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

   

Journalist injured in bomb blast

Freedom Forum's stringer for Province 4, Rajan Upadhyay reported that Kaski based Journalist, Ghanshyam Pandey, has been injured in a recent bomb blast at Bijaypur, Kaski. Journalist Pandey is a station manager at Radio Gandaki and associated with Gandaki television. Kaski district lies in Province No 4, on February 20.

Journalist Pandey reached Bijaypur to report the discovery of a bomb like object in the area.  He received injury in right side of his neck and head due to the blast. Police Officer Kul Bahadur Khatri also received injury in the same incident.

The incident occurred after the Biplob-led Maoist group declared general strike on Today.  Various other places, including the capital city, have reported to be panicked with such bomb.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns the incident that has not only panicked larger population, but also injured journalist on duty. FF urges the concerned authorities to bring the perpetrators to book. Such incident are against the press freedom, discouraging free and fair atmosphere for reporting.



For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu 
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

   

RTI Activist receives death threat for requesting information

Freedom Forum has been alarmed over the death threat issued against an information seeker, Mr. Awrongzeb Ansari, by a principal of a school named Shree Siddharth Secondary School in Birgunj city on February 12. Birgunj lies in Province 2 of Nepal.

The school's principal used another person named Sameer Ansari to issue death threat on Mr Awrongzeb over a telephonic conversation merely for requesting the information related to the expense of the budget in school. The information was sought in line with Right to Information, the right guaranteed under the Constitution of Nepal.

He had requested for the information about the budget allocated by District Education Office in the name of the School, expenses by the school, number of student provided scholarship and other facilities, and types of scholarship among others in the recent fiscal year.

Freedom Forum strongly urges local authority including police offices to provide safety to the RTI activist Mr Awrongzeb Ansari in order to avoid untoward incident against him. Also the National Information Commission is urged to take initiative to heed this concern.


For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

   

FF draws Ministry's attention on draft bill of proposed Mass Communication Act- 2018

Freedom Forum submitted a 24-point attention letter to the Ministry of Information and Communications on 9 February, showing concern over the draft bill of proposed "Mass Communication Act, 2018". The letter was submitted to MoIC's Secretary, Kedar Bahadur Adhikari.

The letter mentioned that FF identified several points, which would make mass communication law impractical, unconstitutional and irrational therefore have suggested keeping the provisions within constitutional standards and uphold democratic practice.

FF has initiated an in-depth study of the bill for the review.

FF showed it concerns as - the proposed bill aims to revoke three existing acts related to communications sector namely, Press and Publication Act, 2048 BS, National Broadcasting Act 2048 BS and Working Journalist Act, 2051 BS.

Although the draft bill is said to be consolidated, aiming to keep mass communications sector fair, independent, transparent and professional in order to uphold the democratic practice, revoking these acts would tamper working journalists' rights.

Full text of the concern ---

January 29, 2018

The Government of Nepal has come up with a draft bill of "Mass Communications Act" that aims to revoke three existing acts related to communications sector namely, Press and Publication Act 2048 BS, National Broadcasting Act 2048 BS and Working Journalist Act 2051 BS.

As an institution working in the field of freedom of expression, communications and information for over a decade, Freedom Forum has serious concern over the draft bill.

The bill is said to be consolidated, aiming to keep mass communications sector fair, independent, transparent and professional in order to uphold democratic practice. Freedom Forum has following concerns regarding the draft bill-

1) This draft bill has been consolidated to regulate the entire communications sector in a single umbrella act.  This is a positive and welcome step.

2) FF has reservation towards definition of the words like 'mass communications', 'journalist' and 'press representative'. It needs correction.

3) The bill has envisioned the establishment of National Mass Communications Authority for regulating license and professional ethics and promoting achieve and self-regulation. Although the concept of establishing authority is positive, the committee responsible for recommending the establishment of authority seems biased. Stakeholders must be consulted to determine rights, duties and responsibilities of the authority.

4) The draft bill has proposed that the authority shall have the right to distribute government     advertisement. It is irrational and ludicrous in the context of current governance set up. .

5) FF has concern over the provision that mentions employees to the authority shall be provided by the State. This hampers the autonomy and independence of the authority.

6) Although the provision relating to new system of recording the newspaper is positive, old registration method has made it difficult. Also the documentation of publications from provincial and local level is centralized.

7) Proposed segregation made in relation to the management of newspaper has not considered the concept of Audit Bureau of Circulation which might continue government interferences and questions the relevance and existence of Press Council. This issue must be addressed seriously.

8) The bill provides ground for control of newspaper reasoning the legitimate restriction which is against the constitutional ground protection of newspaper.

9) Traditional and irrelevant provisions as compelling registration of printing press, issuance of certificate have been incorporated in the bill. Placing printing business under the regulation of mass communications in today's world is deplorable.

10) Some of the provisions in the draft bill aim at discouraging the creative use of new technology in broadcasting sector.

11) Double taxation system for fees and royalties in broadcasting sector has been continued in this bill as well.

12) Draft bill provides ground for the cancellation of permission letter for broadcasting banned news which draws serious concern.

13) Although broadcasting medium has been segregated as public broadcasting, community broadcasting and private broadcasting, there is no proper definition and ground for segregation. Also, community broadcasting has been made mandatory to advertise about local government.

14) Although the provision entitles consent for the periodic permission of radio, television frequency, the period classified seems improper and irrational.

15) One of the serious concerns over the bill is incorporation of controversial Online Media Operation Directive. The provision that compels for the registration, renewal, certification and commercialization of the online media platform draws a serious concern.

16) Bill revokes Working Journalist Act 2051 BS. With the annulment, rights of the journalists are also revoked. Although the act has been revoked, the committee formed to determine minimum wage for journalists still remains operational. This issue needs to be discussed thoroughly.

17) Section 45 of the bill has the positive provision relating to self regulation by the media house. But if this provision is invoked, there is no need and relevance of Press Council. But, still, the Council Act has not been revoked by this bill. This kind of double standard is irrelevant.

18) Another provision that draws serious concern is the provision for the press representative. The provision is same as before. Keeping the similar provision for certification of press representative by government creates accreditation in the media sector.  This is against the fundamental norm of press freedom. This bill supports the provision of declaring the journalist by the State, which is an undemocratic practice.

19) Bill has similar provision for restriction regarding publication and broadcasting as per the constitutional standards, yet regulation of such restrictions is not mentioned clearly. Similarly, broadcasting against the restricted provisions is termed as criminal offence and treated as State party offence.

20) The bill has envisioned new institution such as mass communication training foundation, communication museum, information bank, journalist welfare fund etc which might create unnecessary financial burden to the government.

21) If this bill gets the status of an Act, currently operating media should also get re-registration. This provision invites unnecessary government interference.

22) This bill has incorporated many provisions relating to media, though the provisions are ambiguous and vague, which gives ground for the drafting of many by-laws and regulations that would ultimately suppress press/media freedom.

23)  After the commencement of this Act, Press Council Act becomes irrelevant. Thus Press Council Act must also be revoked.

24) As per it, the books written in Nepal must also be registered which is again an irrational and ridiculous provision.

This is our initial response to the proposed Mass Communications Bill 2018. This bill needs to be discussed seriously; hence FF has initiated thorough study on it. We furnish our feedback to the concerned authority as soon as possible. This issue needs serious concern from the media fraternities, FoE advocates, citizen and political parties too.

 

For More Information

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np

4102022, 4102030

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

   

Journalist Dhakal injured in police attack

Freedom Forum's stringer for Province-4, Rajan Uapdhayay, reported that a journalist associated with Aadarsha Samaj national daily, Prakash Dhakal, received injury during police intimidation while reporting. The incident occurred in Pokhara on February 6 2017. Pokhara lies in Province-4.

Quoting journalist Dhakal, stringer Upadhyay explained that despite informing the police that he was a journalist, the police attacked him with sticks while dispersing a demonstration in the street. As a result, he received bruise in his leg.

The incident occurred after student union started demonstration against the death of Bodhraj Dhakal in a road accident. Journalist Dhakal was there to report the incident.

Freedom Forum condemns the attack against the reporter and requests the police persons to maintain restraint while controlling mob, and separate journalists from protestors.


For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu 
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Reporter receives death threat

Freedom Forum's stringer for Province 2 Rajan Singh reported that Raj Kamal Singh, reporter with Aarthik Aabhiyan daily received death threat from the government officials of Janakpur Custom Office on February 1 in Janakpur.  Janakpur lies in Province 2 of Nepal.

Reporter Singh had written news entitled 'involvement of customs officials in smuggling' exposing officials Hem Chand Sharma and Jagdish Das for their involvement in custom smuggling and tax evasion in Janakpur area.

Quoting reporter Singh, stringer Singh informed that the official Chand and his driver Prakash Yadav (working on contract basis) had called the reporter in their office after reading the news published against them. Immediately after reaching the office, officials threatened the reporter not to write news against them or they will use goons to kill him. They also forcefully took another journalist Sumeet Mishra to other room and threatened him along with reporter Singh.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns the death threat to the journalist. Journalists are free to expose administrative wrongdoings and corruption.  One can file complain to the press council and choose the legal way if they have reservation against the news published. The officials involved must respect press freedom and journalist right. FF hereby draws the attention of concerned authority to investigate the incident and take action against the culprit.



For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

   

Television correspondent manhandled

Correspondent with Janata Television, Ganesh Acharya, was manhandled by hospital staff on February 1 in Dang. Dang is situated in Province No 5 of Nepal.

Talking to Freedom Forum, correspondent Acharya shared, "Following the news published on a daily about unqualified doctors practicing in Rapti Zonal Hospital, Tulsipur, I reached the hospital for reporting at 10:15 am. I approached section officer Nim Bahadur Oli (as the earlier news had quoted him) and inquired him about the news details."

But, he furiously denied my queries, arguing that media defamed the hospital publishing fake news. He also shouted at me asking whether I wanted to disrepute the hospital, writing the news. Again, while I was recording his misbehavior, he ordered me to leave the hospital, trying to snatch my camera", added Acharya.

However, both the camera and recorders were safe.

Moreover, he had to leave the hospital premises after Oli warned of closing administration section of the hospital citing the reason of media interference.

FF is concerned about the incident, as it is a sheer violation of press freedom. Reporting and publishing news about issues of public concern is journalists' rights and citizens' right to information. Hence, FF urges the concerned authority to respect journalists' right to free reporting and provide them the required information.


For More Information 
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np

   

President Office bars private media from covering swearing in ceremony

Freedom Forum's stringer for Province-3 reported that Office of the President barred the photo and video journalists of private media from covering the swearing-in ceremony of governors (Provincial Chiefs) of seven provinces on January 19 (Friday). The Office of the President lies in the capital city of Nepal.

Quoting Nagarik Daily's Photo Journalist Dinesh Gole, Stringer Ashok Dahal explained that on reaching Sheetal Niwas to cover the event, security persons stopped them by entering into the oath taking hall after checking identity cards. Photo and video journalists of State owned media outlets including the National News Agency (RSS), Gorkhapatra daily and Nepal Television were however allowed inside the Office of the President with their cameras.

"But over two dozen journalists from private media were stopped at media center in the premises of the President office" informed Dahal quoting Gole.

Similarly, Stringer Dahal quoted video journalist of News Agency Sabin Dhamala stating that the office was  barring photo and video journalists from private media for a long without reason. "I remember that we were given access at the office to cover news. Since then the office has not given access to cover any event inside only to the private media," said Dhamala, according to Dahal.

Stringer Dahal continued, "The President Office used to be media friendly until few years ago, but its behaviour to the media especially independent and private has been changed recently."

Freedom Forum expresses serious concern to the President's office behavior towards media person. Not allowing journalists for news coverage (photos and videos) is against the constitutional right for freedom of the press, right to information of the public and against democratic values. Hence, FF strongly urges the authority to respect press freedom, citizen's access to information.


For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu 
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

   

Correspondent Kaini's attackers asked for written apology - Update

-Update-

Freedom Forum's stringer for Province 4, Rajan Upadhyay reported that those accused of being involved in the attack of Journalist Sudeep Kaini have asked for written apologies with Correspondent Sudeep Kaini on January 19 (Friday). They have confessed their involvement in the attacks and asked for the apology stating that the incident occurred due to
unawareness. The accused have also committed to respecting the Press Freedom, Journalists' role in reporting news and cooperate them during the reporting.

Correspondent for Kantipur and The Kathmandu Post Sudeep Kaini was attacked by a group of sand smugglers in January 15. Kaini had filed Public Offence case against attackers namely:
Ranjit Shrestha, Raghujit KC, Shivaji KC, Ramkrishna KC and Subas KC at Area Police Office Tanahun.

Stringer Upadhyay informed that accused
have also agreed to compensate the belongings of journalist Kaini, damaged by them during the attack.

Quoting Kaini stringer Upadhyay argued that everyone should respect the journalist who are on duty and are in field for reporting. One should seek for the legal help in case of any incident incurred against journalists, rather than staying quite. This would help reduce the attack against journalists, stressed Kaini.

Furthermore, Kaini again assured that he would not withdraw the case as the accused are still in the police custody.

Adding to this, Senior Journalist Kishore Jung Thapa believes that after the agreement attacks on media and media persons will minimize, added Upadhyay.

Freedom Forum appreciates journalist's decision to fight against the perpetretors and also assures to provide support to the journalist to cater justice to media and media persons.


For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu 
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

   

Media persons obstructed for reporting

Freedom Forum is alarmed over repeated incidents of press freedom violations during public protests and strikes ongoing in Province No. 5 against allocated Provincial Capital.

FF's stringer for Province No. 5 Sudeep Gautam reported that vehicle carrying journalists was stopped by agitating public on January 20 (Saturday) in Dang. The protests and strikes have intensified demanding preferred provincial capitals.

According to Stringer Gautam, a group of media persons had reached the site to cover news on the highway- centered protests and their demands at 12:15 pm. As soon as the journalists' reached the place, agitating public stopped the jeep and even tore up the press sticker.

Editors Dilli Malla (Jana Ubhar weekly), Narendra KC (Naya Yougbodh daily) and Aazad Khadka (www.khabartokari.com) and a photo journalist Kuldeep Neupane respectively had to stuck for an hour in the vehicle and return back without reporting.

Similarly, in a separate incident a vehicle carrying Nayapatrika daily for distribution was obstructed in Tulsipur Dang by the agitators on January 18 (Thursday) . The vehicle resumed after 1.5 hours with police escorting.

Both the incidents reveal how media faces intimidation during public disorder and conflict. Free and fair reporting is the fundamental right of media persons hence; Freedom Forum draws attention of the concerned authority to respect rights to freedom of expression and information.


For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu 
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

   

Alert User

If you have any news on violence of Press Freedom, please send by clicking here

Your Suggestions

Your suggestions are valuable to provide you more information. Send us your suggestions by clicking here.

Contribute Articles

If you like to contribute ideas and articles, you can send us an email to submit articles.

Login Form