KATHMANDU, Sept 2: Various political leaders have pledged to lobby and make initiations for amending the laws that restrict press freedom.
Emphasizing press freedom for strengthening democracy, they stressed the need for amending some anti-press provisions in the Criminal Code, 2074 and the Civil Code, 2074 BS.
They were speaking at a programme organized by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) here today. On the occasion, standing committee member of Communist Party of Nepal Pampha Bhusal said her party is always committed to press freedom. "Press freedom is norms and values of democracy. It is needed for consolidating democracy. So we will take initiatives to amend the laws that limit press freedom," she said.
Nepali Congress leader Dr Minendra Rijal called for effective implementation of journalist's code of conduct to curb irregularities in journalism, apart from making separate laws to protect press freedom.
Federal Socialist Party vice chair, Rajendra Shrestha, said new laws had imposed restrictions on press freedom and the party was all ready to amend it. Rastriya Janata Party's leader Laxman Lal Karna pointed out the need of revising the Codes bearing in mind laws of other countries and the Supreme Court's precedents.
FNJ chair Govinda Acharya said the State should bear the loss if any incident against the press freedom took place due to the new laws. Senior journalist Harihari Birahi accused the government of coming up with harsh laws against press freedom. "This type of unkind law was not practiced even in the Panchayat system and thus it should be amended."
Kantipur Daily editor-in-chief Narayan Wagle said provisions about press incorporated in the Codes reflected the State's negative mindset towards the press. With the new Codes coming into force, ' self-censorship' in media had begun, he added. Himal Magazine's Kiran Nepal said the new laws had violated the people's right to freedom. Journalists Kamal Giri, Saroj Adhikari and Nitu Pandit stressed that Codes should be amended soon so as to allow the press to work without any fear. RSS