Political freedom untenable in absence of freedom of Press, expression: Minister Sharma

Patan (Lalitpur), April 26: Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Rekha Sharma, has said that political freedom cannot be achieved in the absence of freedom of the Press and of expression.     

Addressing the 14th convention and annual general meeting of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Lalitpur chapter here today, she said the Press freedom and political freedom were connected and the latter could not be achieved in the absence of the freedom of expression.     

“In a federal democratic republican polity, the aspirations of all should be internalized on the basis of inclusiveness. The Press freedom and the freedom of expression are important for this,” Minister Sharma said, calling upon one and all to establish the practice of fair journalism by accepting the change in technology.     

Pointing out to the need of revising the outdated Acts accepting the change that has come with the technology, she said preparations are being made to table in Parliament the Media Council Bill and the Mass Communication Bill despite of the procedural delays.     

According to her, preparations are being made for presenting in the Parliament the legislations related to cyber security and regulation of social media and the laws to prevent the irregularities in the advertising market of Nepal.     

The Communication and Information Technology Minister expressed her belief that the problems could be resolved in a sustainable manner once the policy-related issues are addressed.     

Noting that the media has an important role to play in correcting the faults in the constitution and thereby bringing a change in the nation’s condition for the better, she called for a broader campaign by the media to establish the rule of law through the practical implementation of the constitution.     

“Although constitutionally the daughters have the inheritance right, it has not been implemented in practice. Still, it is difficult to get citizenship from the District Administration Office in the mother’s name. The media should facilitate in this by exposing the loopholes in the laws,” she asserted.     

Stating that a negative thinking has been developing in society towards the present political system and movement, she urged journalists to push their pens for developing a positive outlook and for administrative reforms. “The mistake committed by the drivers of the system should not be taken as the fault of the system itself,” she argued. Those committing mistake will be brought to book sooner or later, she added.     

President of the National Network of Democratic Print Media, Damodar Prasad Dawadi alleged that the FNJ has missed out the working journalists’ membership in its ‘membership sanctification’ campaign.     

FNJ Valley Region Committee president Shreejan Jha, FNJ Lalitpur chapter president Sagar Neupane, among other speakers, underlined the need of systematizing the country’s journalism. (RSS)

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