KATHMANDU, May 14: The speaker of the House of Representatives and the chairperson of the National Assembly (NA) have assured a delegation from the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) of their support for amending regressive provisions in media-related bills which are under discussion in parliament.
Responding separately to a delegation of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara and NA Chairperson Ganesh Prasad Timilsina on Monday said that they will cooperate as per their capacity for ensuring media-friendly provisions in the bills.
FNJ has demanded the ensuring of full press freedom in the Information Technology Bill and Advertisement Bill which are under discussion in the lower house and guarantee of independence for the media regulatory body in the Media Council Bill recently registered in the upper house.
“We must not forget the contribution of the press to political changes in the country and I will put in my full effort for endorsing the bills unanimously after revising the provisions that are against a free press,” said Mahara to the FNJ delegation.
Similarly, NA Chairperson Timilsina said that he will set in motion the parliamentary committees concerned for consultations with the stakeholders.
During the meetings, FNJ Chairperson Govinda Acharya demanded with Speaker Mahara and Chairperson Timilsina not to register bills which are against the spirit of the constitution.
Journalists and civil society members have been protesting against the bills, which have already been registered and are now under discussion in parliament, for including regressive provisions that curtail media freedom.
The International Federation of Journalists and FNJ have drawn the government's attention to the need for consultations with stakeholders and for corrections in the bills.
Meanwhile, Bibeksheel Sajha Party has demanded the withdrawal of the Media Council Bill from parliament and registration of new bills after consultations with the stakeholders. Issuing a statement on Monday, the party said that curtailing the freedom of the media in the name of regulating it is objectionable.