Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) has submitted a memorandum seeking amendment to some of the provisions related to press in the draft constitution to Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang.
A delegation led by FNJ President Mahendra Bista handed over the memorandum amid a function held at the CA Building in New Baneshwar. The FNJ has maintained that those provisions, if not amended, may seriously curtail press freedom that the Nepali press has been enjoying over the years.
The Federation has demanded full press freedom in the preamble of the new constitution itself. Likewise, it has maintained that the restrictive clauses in the Rights to Freedom in Article 22 needs a change as they might be used to curtail press freedom.
Additionally, FNJ has sought amendment to the Mass Communication Rights in Article 24. The umbrella organization of journalists across the country has said that the restrictive clauses should include only those news that affect national sovereignty, nationality, territorial integrity, national security and an individual’s privacy and dignity.
The FNJ has also asked the government to provide constitutional guarantee that no restrictions violating basic principles of democratic norms and values would be imposed on the media. Among other things, the FNJ also seeks amendment to the Right to Information in Article 32 and to the provisions in Article 107 (3), Article 186 (3) and Article 268 (9) of the draft constitution.
FNJ President Bista maintained that these provisions need to be amended appropriately as they might be misused later by illiberal rulers to curtail press freedom.
Receiving the memorandum, chairman of Constituent Assembly (CA) Subas Nembang assured that he would draw the CA members’s attention to the issue to make necessary amendments in the new statute. He expressed confidence that the suggestions made in the memorandum would be incorporated in the new statute by the Drafting Committee of the CA.