Call to scrap Online Media Guidelines

Various stakeholders have demanded not to enforce the government-brought Online Media Operation Guidelines-2073 BS as it is.

At a discussion program organized here today by Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), the participating speakers demanded removal of its clauses which are not consistent with the constitution.

The stakeholders voiced their complaints that the government did not hold ample consultations with them and the Guidelines has some clauses meant to limit the online media and curtail freedom of expression.

FNJ Chairperson Dr Mahendra Bista said that they are ready to regulate media but not accept the Guidelines brought with ill intention to impose control on free media. “The Guidelines has repressed the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of press and of expression”.

Former General Secretary of FNJ Om Sharma said there is no option but to withdraw the Guidelines which he claimed reflected the autocratic thinking of the rulers.

It is unfortunate for the democratic government to introduce such Guidelines which is even tougher than the one brought by autocratic Panchayati System, he asserted.

He demanded the scrapping of the Guidelines.

Communication expert at Ministry of Information and Communications Matrika Poudel urged the stakeholders including FNJ to provide their recommendations for necessary amendment to the policy document though there were no adequate consultations to that end.

Likewise, media expert Pawan Acharya said there is no rationale to accept the Directive which has stated clauses providing space for repression and stated that the government would take action against media. “The clauses that the government could control the media and even scrap registration are brazen violation of the constitutional provisions on press freedom and freedom of expression”.

Nepal Press Union General Secretary Ajaya Babu Shivakoti also echoed the voice for the scrapping of the Directive as it was advertently introduced to gag press freedom.

He however suggested to go for wider consultation with stakeholders and rewriting of the Directive.

Press Chautari Nepal’s senior Vice President Madhav Nepal has that the Guidelines can in no way be accepted as it was brought without informing the stakeholders.

Representatives from online media, media organizations, journalists and office-bearers and members of FNJ participated in the discussion. RSS

Source: MyRepublica