Lawmakers demand removal of 'regressive' provisions in Privacy Bill

Published On: September 2, 2018 04:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 2: Lawmakers have registered amendment proposals on the Bill to Provisions on Personal Privacy, demanding the removal of stringent provisions on the collection and dissemination of personal information about public office bearers.

Ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmakers have jointly registered an amendment proposal on the under-discussion bill demanding that academic certificates, citizenship certificates and property details of public office bearers and politicians should be public unlike others.

Likewise, NCP leaders in their joint amendment have proposed that the media and general public should be allowed to publish news, information, articles commenting on the character of public office bearers and convict of a crime.

Lawmakers Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel, Ghanashyam Khatiwada, Pabitra Kharel Niroula, Sashi Shrestha, Nabina Lama and Narayan Prasad Marasini registered the joint amendment on the bill also allowing the media to publish investigative reporting and articles about the qualification and background of individual who is in the fray for a public office.

“If we endorse the law allowing public office bearers and politicians to keep their property details secret, it will increase corruption,” said NCP lawmaker Khatiwada.

The lawmakers have claimed that other provisions in the law cannot bar any critical reporting, writing and publication of sarcastic cartoons or images about the public office bearers. The under-discussion bill in parliament bars taking pictures of any individual if such picture could harm the character and social prestige of the individuals, public office bearers or convicts of a crime. Likewise the bill bars making any comments on the character and conduct of any individual even if the individual is a public office bearer or the convict of a crime. Provisions in the bill have also barred the collecting, storing, and analyzing of personal information of any individual without prior consent of the individual concerned .

“Our amendment is aimed at removing regressive provisions in the bill that could curtail the press freedom,” claimed NCP lawmaker Pokhrel.

According to the leaders, the amendment was registered in consultation with senior leaders of the ruling party including deputy parliamentary party leader Subas Nembang.

Lawmakers including Rekha Sharma of NCP have also registered separate amendments proposing that political affiliation of individuals should also be public. Other lawmakers including Bhim Rawal, Bharat Kumar Shah, Durga Paudel, Khagraj Adhikari, Prem Suwal and Lal Bahadur Thapa have registered separate amendment proposals on the bill. Most of the lawmakers have demanded limiting personal privacy of public office bearers.

The bill has proposed up to three-year jail or a fine of Rs 30,000 or both for such offences. Likewise, the bill has proposed that any individual can file a case at the district court demanding compensation on breach of his personal privacy rights.

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