PM vows not to allow any curtailment and restriction on press freedom

Kathmandu, May 3: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has expressed his commitment that there will not be any kind of control or curtailment on press freedom. 

Addressing a programme organized on Friday on the occasion of the 27th General Convention of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), he said that rather than controlling the mass media, self-regulation should be done.     

“My request to the press fraternity is to protect the freedom of the press and create an environment conducive for media consumption, along with stopping the deluge of false information,” Prime Minister Prachanda said and urged the mass media to develop a self-regulation system for checking the publication and transmission of content that misleads the Nepali society due to dissemination of false, misleading and misinformation, develops a negative mentality, disrupts social harmony or attacks Nepali civilization and culture.     

Stating that the FNJ has taken press freedom as the primary issue, PM Dahal said press freedom is an inevitable aspect of political freedom as the latter was attained with the participation of the journalism sector.     

“The strong basis for measuring if any system is pro-people and democratic is whether or not that system guarantees the freedom of the press and the rights of journalists,” he said, adding that unlike during the time of the monarchical rule, the journalists do not have to go to jail, are not killed, have news content censored and the media is not forced to shut down these days.     

Noting that since the Constitution of Nepal has institutionalized full press freedom by mentioning it in its very preamble, press freedom has become a part of the federal democratic republic, Prime Minister Prachanda clarified that no one can now curtail press freedom.     

“The Nepali journalism sector is the main stakeholder of the federal democratic republic that we have achieved. Without the involvement of the journalism sector it would not have been possible to achieve such a great political accomplishment in the country,” he said and called on the journalism sector to participate in protecting the achievements achieved and create a mission to constantly play the role of a watchdog and monitor the state.     

Mentioning the government’s emphasis on the agenda of good governance, social justice and prosperity, Prime Minister Prachanda said that the present government wants to institutionalize the agenda of change and achieve rapid economic growth in the country by working hand in hand with the press world.     

The government has been making preparations to make arrangements for sustenance allowance to senior journalists and disabled journalists, added PM Prachanda.     

He assured that the government was always positive for the welfare of the journalists and it would move ahead accordingly in the coming days.     

“The government has adopted a policy of protecting and promoting to media by recognizing media as the national service-oriented industry for the professional and institutional development of media sector”, the Prime Minister shared, adding, “An arrangement is being made to distribute all government advertisement in a judicial manner.”     

Stating that Nepal’s press sector is always stand in favour of change, he explained that it used to directly involve in some of the movements as well as express solidarity to some of the agendas.     

PM Prachanda recalled the significant contribution of the Nepali press sector to the establishment of the federal democratic republic, the transformation of the society and the establishment of people’s rights.     

Recalling that the Nepali press had to face severe domination and harassment from rulers during an autocratic regime, he mentioned that the press sector has always been standing strong in resistance against oppression.     

“The Nepali press has a significant contribution even in armed conflict period, not only in democratic movements of a different era of history, the establishment of republicanism. It also made a positive contribution in the course of the peace process”, added the PM.     

Sharing that the government is aware of the current situation of the Nepali press, challenges and problems it has been facing, he opined that the Nepali media industry has become financially weak due to earthquakes, blockade, COVID-19 and the recent economic crisis.     

Prime Minister Prachanda expressed commitment to take a concrete step for the capacity building of journalists, creating opportunities for career development and social security including health treatment, and accepting that the problems of working journalists are not being addressed as they should be.   

 “Though some policy-level bases have been prepared for restructuring of the mass media sector, there is a need to make laws and structures”, he underscored, adding, “The government is serious on the issues of press freedom, freedom of expression and right to expression and is effortful to address them.”     

He, however, shared that some of the issues of journalism sectors would be addressed through coming policy, programme and budget.     

“The issues of establishing training academy for capacity development of journalists, bringing working journalists and staffs under the ambit of social security, advertisement, financial crisis facing any media industry will be forwarded keeping in priority”, explained PM Prachanda. (RSS)

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