Nepal is preparing to invite online applications from interested media persons from SAARC member states in order to facilitate foreign journalists covering the 18th SAARC Summit being held in Kathmandu next month.
Officials at the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) said preparations are underway to invite online applications so that journalists visiting Kathmandu to cover the event can obtain press pass without facing hassles. “We are preparing to upload online applications forms on our website [www.doinepal.gov.np] within a week or so. Interested journalists can fill up and submit the application online for obtaining press pass,” said DoI Director General Laxmi Bilas Koirala. Nepal is hosting the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu on November 21-27.
Journalists submitting online applications will also be required to submit a hard copy of their application along with the recommendation letter from the media house concerned and a copy of passport upon their arrival in Kathmandu for obtaining the press pass. “We are now mulling setting up a SAARC Summit Press Help Desk at Tribhuvan International Airport. We will issue a temporary press pass with validity period of about 20 days to the visiting journalists,” Koirala further said.
Officials estmate that over 300 foreign journalists will descend on Kathmandu to cover the summit. Officials are also discussing about making necessary arrangements for the journalists to cover the event without hassles. The SAARC summit venue — City Hall — can hardly accommodate a dozen and a half media persons.
Government officials involved in overseeing media management said they are preparing to set up a separate Media Desk to disseminate information as and when required and allow access inside the summit venue only to state-owned media organizations of the SAARC member states. Preliminary discussions are underway to make arrangement for state-owned Nepal Television to broadcast live the event and then provide other TV stations with access to its footage.
Officials said state-owned Nepal Telecom has agreed to provide mobile SIM cards for free to visiting journalists along with press pass.
Head of the state or the government as well as senior government officials from seven other SAARC member states are arriving in Kathmandu to participate in the Summit. Keeping in view of security threats during the Summit, security agencies are mulling to issue a separate press pass to travel to the summit venue. Journalists covering the summit will need to obtain a separate security pass, officials said.