Provisions of punishment and hefty fines for journalists removed from Media Council BillThe provisions had drawn widespread criticism from the media fraternity, proponents of press freedom and civil liberty activists.
The provisions of punishment and hefty fines for journalists have been removed from the Media Council Bill.
Cross-party representatives in the Legislation Management Committee of the National Assembly on Monday agreed to remove the provisions following widespread criticism from the media fraternity and proponents of press freedom.
Leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party had assured the Federation of the Nepali Journalist, which had taken to the streets against the provisions in the bill, that it would revise the bill.
A member of the committee told the Post that a meeting of the Legislation Management Committee agreed to remove the provisions of punishment and fines that were proposed in the Media Council Bill.
The bill, registered in the National Assembly in May last year, had the provision of a fine up to Rs 1 million to journalists.
“The provision of punishing journalists on the basis of their news has been replaced by a provision of resolving the issues via mutual understanding,” said Prakash Pantha, a member of the committee. “The provision has been removed because we have separate laws to punish anyone guilty of criminal offences.”
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Though the committee has resolved all other issues, it is yet to find a common understanding on whether journalists need a obtain licence to be in the profession.
The council will now have 11 members. There should be at least one member from each province, including at least two women and members of the marginalised community such as Dalits, indigenous nationalities and Madhesis.
The council now must have at least one professor of journalism as well.
Previously, nine members had been proposed in the council.