Govt introduces ‘Online Media Directive’

In an apparent bid aimed at regulating the mushrooming online media, the government on Sunday made public the ‘Online Media Operation Directive 2073’.

The directive was criticised by media experts and various organisation working for the welfare of journalists before its introduction. The directive states that the government shut the online media that are not registered with the government body, or have failed to renew their licences within a specified deadline, or operating illegally.

Similarly, the directive further states that any online media that run unverified news without official sources and misleading content can be shut down.

“The government body can shut down the media if the information disseminated by them creates unfavourable situation,” according to the directive.

Experts have opined that the government is trying to shrink the freedom of press and weaken the independence of media.

What cannot be published?

Information disrupting Nepal’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, nationality or harmony between

federal entities, cast, ethnic groups, religion or community.

Discourage treason, insult or negligence to court and criminal activities.

Information unfavourable to social etiquette and norms.

Contents promoting disregard towards work, caste-based and gender discrimination,

Information without verified source, misleading content and unfavourable to international relationship
The directive also demands application for registration from online media houses within 60 days of the effect of this directive. It has instructed the online portals to compulsorily display in its homepage the webpage icon of those websites from where contents have been extracted or republished.

According to the directive, online media should maintain archive of materials published by them for at least six months of such publications.

Source: The Kathmandu Post