Journalists still working under threat: NHRC chair Sharma

Published On: May 3, 2019 07:42 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 3: Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Anup Raj Sharma has said journalists are still working under different types of threat in the country.

Speaking at an interaction organized by Freedom Forum on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day in the capital on Thursday, Sharma claimed that although the constitution ensures press freedom journalists from different media outlets are not free from threats.

“Journalists should not be prosecuted for reporting. NHRC is with you (journalists) in this issue,” said Sharma. 

Stating that journalists are also human rights activists to some extent, Sharma added that the NHRC will work together with journalists to safeguard human rights in the country. 

Sharma’s statement comes in the wake of Freedom Forum’s report on press freedom violation showing increasing number of threats against journalists in the country. 

Another report prepared by the civil society organization released at the same function shows that incidents of violation of press freedom has been nearly doubled between April 2018 and April 2019 as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Most of the incidents related to violation of press freedom are reported in the capital Kathamandu and Province 3 of the country followed by Province 2. 

According to the organization, 104 incidents of press freedom violation were reported during the review period while such incidents were 66 in the same duration in the previous year. 

Expressing concerns over the recently registered NHRC Act Amendment Bill in the parliament, Sharma claimed that the proposed amendment bill curtails the authority of human rights watchdog. 
Lawmaker of the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) Brikhesh Chandra Lal claimed that press freedom has been shrinking in the country due to the government’s approach. 

Coordinator of Bibeksheel Nepali Party Ujjwal Thapa accused the government of hiding information to suppress press freedom. Chairperson of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Govinda Acharya was of the view that impunity still exists in the country as the murderers of journalists during the Maoists insurgency era are still not brought to justice.

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