Govt forms team to review online media directiveGovt agrees to form review team after journalists flay the clauses contradicting the constitution
The Ministry of Information and Communications has formed a three-member taskforce to amend the Online Media Operation Directive-2073, following opposition from several quarters over its clauses capable of restricting press freedom.
The taskforce comprises the Press Council Nepal chairman and presidents of the Federation of Nepali Journalists and the Online Journalists’ Association.
This comes as a move to placate the journalists’ umbrella organisation that had warned of stern action against the government endorsing the provisions. The FNJ argued that it would not compromise on “hard-earned” press freedom.
Communications Minister Sherdhan Rai on Tuesday announced the taskforce after the federation drew his attention to the clauses of the directive that contradict the constitution.
The directive states that the government can shut down online media that are not registered, or have failed to renew their registration within a specified time, or those operating illegally. It also empowers the government to shut down web sites that run “misleading” content or news without official sources.
“Government cannot even imagine restricting press freedom,” said Rai. “We are ever ready to amend the provisions if they require it.” FNJ President Mahendra Bista welcomed the decision.