Kathmandu, 13 August: The National Assembly (NA) is all set to move the controversial media bill forward. The bill has not been submitted in the Upper House after the main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) and journalists protested against the bill.
National Assembly Chairman Ganesh Timalsina called leaders of the parties in the upper House, Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Baskota and representatives of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) for discussion yesterday.
The FNJ and NC demanded commitment of amendment from the bill while Minister Baskota expressed commitment to amend it as per parliamentary process.
Leader of NC in National Assembly Surendra Raj Pandey opined that Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli and the main opposition leader in the House of Representatives (HoR) Sher Bahadur Deuba should reach agreement about the bill first. He added that consultation between the two leaders will determine the future of bill. “We are looking for commitment from the PM as the government may renege on the commitment,” Pandey stated.
NC had earlier been demanding withdrawal of the bill.
The bill could not be presented even for discussion in principle despite being registered in the National Assembly on May 10.
The ruling CPN had tried to ease the situation through deputy parliamentary party leader Subas Chandra Nembang after widespread criticism of the party and government following registration of the bill. Nembang had asked journalists close to the party to submit points for amendment of the bill.
The bill–that proposes a fine of Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 million on journalist for violating code of conduct, has been widely condemned with the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) demanding its withdrawal while President of the main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) Sher Bahadur Deuba calling it a coup on journalists and press freedom.
The bill that will turn the current Press Council Nepal into Media Council has proposed a fine of Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 million on the media, its publisher, editor and journalist if they seem to have hurt somebody’s dignity and prestige.
People’s News Monitoring Service