Media fraternity dividedThe preparation of the Press Council Nepal to introduce mandatory eligibility test for journalists has stoked a debate in the media fraternity.
The preparation of the Press Council Nepal to introduce mandatory eligibility test for journalists has stoked a debate in the media fraternity.
A taskforce formed by the council last year to set a benchmark for the journalists submitted its report recently, specifying qualifications, examination criteria and the evaluation process.
The council plans to conduct the selection test in two phases that involves written exam and interview.
However, the Federation of Nepali Journalists does not support the regulator’s decision. FNJ President Mahendra Bista argues that though the notion of introducing well-qualified and skilled personnel in the media is a welcome move, it is at the same time likely to curtail freedom of press and expression.
Experts argue that making a licence for journalists mandatory sails against the preamble of the constitution which upholds freedom of speech and expression.
Centre for Media Research Managing Director Ujjwal Acharya also views that the right to judge a journalist rests with the readers, listeners and viewers.
Kundan Aryal, a taskforce member, defends the selection process as necessary for making the profession dignified and transparent, accountable to the people and competitive.
A person should have at least an SLC to take up journalism as their profession. However, it is commonly
perceived that many journalists still do not meet the minimal requirement. According to the Department of Information, around 10,000 journalists are registered as press representatives.