Published On: March 20, 2023 07:15 AM NPT By: Republica | @RepublicaNepal
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Devraj Ghimire has made a very lowly remark against the free press in Nepal, to say the least. Speaking to a delegation of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) on Friday, Speaker Ghimire said – "Journalists are not doing journalism as responsibly as they should have done. The practice of yellow journalism is equally alarming now. Whatever the reason, they [journalists] are biased. In other words, journalists are for sale." These comments made by Speaker Ghimire are deeply concerning and a clear attack on the freedom of the press. His statement that "journalists are for sale" is not only a derogatory remark that undermines the integrity of journalists, but it also has serious implications for the ability of journalists to do their job without fear of reprisal.
It goes without saying that the media plays an essential role in holding those in power accountable and keeping the public informed. Without a free and independent press, democracy cannot function properly. It is therefore essential that those in positions of power, like Speaker Ghimire, respect and support the vital work of journalists. Unfortunately, Speaker Ghimire's comments do the opposite. By implying that journalists are for sale, he is casting doubt on their integrity and suggesting that they are willing to compromise their work for personal gain. This is a dangerous and unfounded accusation that has no place in a democratic society.
Moreover, Speaker Ghimire's comments are a direct attack on the freedom of the press. Journalists must be able to do their job without fear of reprisal, including unfounded accusations from those in power. The role of the press is to ask difficult questions and to report the truth, even if it is uncomfortable or inconvenient for those in power. It is essential that journalists can do this without fear of retribution.
The FNJ has already spoken out against Speaker Ghimire's comments, and it is essential that they continue to do so. Additionally, it is heartening to see that some parliamentarians have demanded a probe into the matter. This is an important first step towards holding those in power accountable for their statements and ensuring that the freedom of the press is protected.
Needless to say, the need for either substantiation of Speaker Ghimire’s allegations or an apology is of utmost importance in this matter. Speaker Ghimire's statement is not only a cowardly attack on the free press, journalists, and their profession, but it is also a very serious allegation that has been made without any evidence or proof. The statement is a blanket one that casts a shadow of doubt on the entire profession of journalism in Nepal. If the Speaker does have evidence to back up his claim, then it is important that he provides it in order to strengthen public trust in the media.
On the other hand, if he cannot provide any evidence, he must apologize for making such a baseless and irresponsible statement. The FNJ and other media organizations should make sure that this issue is not swept under the rug and that the Speaker is held accountable for his words. The freedom of the press is a fundamental right that must be protected, and any attack on it must be taken seriously.
Therefore, it is essential that all those who value democracy and the freedom of the press speak out against these kinds of attacks. Journalists around the world face threats and intimidation every day, and it is up to all of us to ensure that they can do their job without fear of reprisal. We must continue to demand accountability from those in power and support the essential work of journalists everywhere.
Finally, as a group of independent media workers who value media ethics and integrity very highly, we at Republica conclude that the comments made by Speaker Ghimire are deeply concerning and a direct attack on the freedom of the press. We don’t claim that the country’s media sector is completely free of problems, but we would like to make it clear that such blanket statements are unacceptable. So, it is essential that Speaker Ghimire either substantiates his allegations or apologizes and that those who value democracy and the freedom of the press continue to speak out against these kinds of attacks.
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