Government is ready to discuss on problematic topics of media bill: Minister Pokharel
June 13, 2019 08:20 PM NPT
Photo Courtesy: RSS
KATHMANDU, June 13: At a time when the media council bill has drawn criticism from media fraternity and freedom of expression defenders including Federation of Nepali Journalists, Acting Prime Minister Ishwar Pokharel held a discussion with the editors at Singha Durbar today.
Acting PM Pokharel said, "Government is ready to clear the hurdles with discussion on problematic topics on the bill rather than withdrawing or revising it." Such discussion would help reach a conclusion, he hoped, informing that additional discussion could be held on it after the Prime Minister KP Oli returns home. He, however, admitted that there was confusion in many sectors at present because the laws and structures to fit the changed political system were yet to be made.
On the occasion, Nepal Communist Party parliamentary party's deputy leader Subash Nembang viewed such discussion would be positive and PM Oli was positive to address the genuine concern over the bill. He made a commitment that the bill would be passed with the revision to abide by the spirit of the full freedom of the press as mentioned in the constitution. "We're communist, but not in the communist system. We believe in periodic election, Nembang underscored.
The editors reminded that press had played a significant role in the country's democratic movements. The government formed after the democratic movements must not bring the law to suppress the press. They also urged the government to withdraw the bill and hold a broader discussion. As Nepal is an open society, press freedom cannot be trampled, they underscored. On the occasion, the editors also said they were serious to abide by the code.
The discussion was attended by editors- Narayan Wagle, Gunaraj Luitel, Hari Bahadur Thapa, Shuva Shankar Kandel, Prateek Pradhan, Amit Dhakal, Krishna Jwala Devkota, Prakash Rimal, Shambhu Shrestha, Kishor Shrestha, Om Sharma, Kiran Nepal, Sagar Pandit, Purna Basnet, Nitu Pandit, Subash Ghimire, Arun Baral, Basanta Basnet and others. At the meeting also attended by Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Gokul Banskota, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Bhanubhakta Dhakal, and NCP lawmaker Yogesh Bhattarai.
The bill was registered at the upper house of the parliament of April 9. Concerns are shown by the media on the provisions relating to punishment, the appointment of officials at council and others and others.