Nepal: Stakeholders cite issues in implementation of laws governing media

This statement was originally published on on 20 September 2021.

Freedom Forum conducted a dialogue – Implementation of media rights at the Federal, Province and Local level – through an online platform on Zoom on September 18. Around 40 experts from diverse sectors including media, media advocates, civil societies and academia from different provinces of Nepal participated in the discussion.

At the program, the Executive Chief at Freedom Forum, Taranath Dahal, provided an introduction about the current status of implementation of media rights in different parts of the country. He shed light on his own research on the provisions of the right to freedom of expression and free press in the constitution, and major threats to the media and its rights in Nepal.

He also pointed out the international norms on freedom of the press and expression, which also regulate our existing laws. He also expressed worry over current threats to media freedom, along with the unclear division of authority at the three levels – federal, province and local. This confusion has led to the misuse of the laws governing media rights.

Stating that the report has come up with relevant analyses to the present context, Krishna Hari Banskota said that the law-making authority should be strengthened first and then its implementation.

Similarly, senior journalist Bhanubhakta Acharya pointed out major problems in the content regulation of Nepali media.

Policymaker at Province 1 Jay Ram Yadav stressed that the present challenge to its implementation is the political affiliation of the media itself. The study has come at the right time, which is useful to prod the government for effective implementation of the laws regulating media.

Advocate Sanjeeb Ghimire claimed that even though the constitution has delegated authoritative power to all three levels, the law-making process shows structural overlapping. Capacitating local levels to use their delegated power is of the utmost need, he stressed.

Lastly, FF’s chairman Hari Binod Adhikari described FF’s long-term advocacy on media freedom opposing the government’s regressive moves. He then concluded the program, wishing all the participants ‘National Constitution Day 2021’.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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