Media Society urges govt to remove anti-press freedom provisionsNepal Media Society (NMS) said that its serious attention has been drawn to the Criminal Code that will come into effect from Friday (August 17) and urged the government to immediately correct it.
Nepal Media Society (NMS) said that its serious attention has been drawn to the Criminal Code that will come into effect from Friday (August 17) and urged the government to immediately correct it.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the NMS has strongly objected to the code’s provisions related to privacy and defamation that pose serious threat to press freedom.
The NMS has urged the government to remove the conflicting provisions that are against press freedom from the code and pay heed to Article 19 of the Constitution regarding the right to mass communication. The umbrella organization of mainstream media outlets of the country has demanded the government make it clear in a legal way that those provisions won’t be applicable in case of press freedom.
“When looked at from a broader perspective, the code’s Article 293 that forbids listening to or recording any private conversations between two or more individuals without their consent has directly violated the constitutional right of the press to collect, publish and broadcast information,” noted the statement.
“Furthermore, Article 295 that prohibits sharing of any secret information known during his/her professional work should not be leaked without the person’s consent or when forced by law has attacked the key spirit of the journalism,” the statement further noted.
“Journalism itself is an investigative task, media across the world has been making the people aware by exposing the state’s arbitrariness and ensuring public the right to information as part of the democratic practice,” read the statement. “The media always honours the sensitivity about defamation against any person or individual right to privacy. But Nepali media can’t tolerate the censorship or legal action by the state under the pretext of defamation (slander or libel)
Saying that it is ready to resort to any kind of struggle to defend a free press and people’s right to information, the society has called on the civil society, political party and other stakeholders to remain vigilant.
The government is all set to replace the Civil Code (Muluki Ain) with the Criminal Code 2074 as part of the process to enact new laws based on the new constitution.