Media Council Bill is against the spirit of constitution, editors say in a joint statementEditors of national dailies and online portals said the bill, which is in currently in Parliament, aims to curtail full press freedom, which is guaranteed by the constitution.
Editors of various media outlets have objected to the Media Council Bill, saying it is against democratic norms and the spirit of the constitution.
In a statement on Thursday, 21 editors of national dailies and online portals said the bill, which is currently in the Parliament, aims to curtail full press freedom, which is guaranteed by the constitution.
The bill, which will replace the existing Press Council Act, aims to create the Media Council with more authority to impose hefty fines on journalists and give the government more say in the hiring and firing of the council members.
Journalists and information rights activists have said the new council could increase direct attacks on the press.
The Federation of Nepali Journalists has been protesting against the bill, demanding that the government withdraw it from Parliament.
“We stand strongly in support of the Federation of Nepali Journalists and other media institutions which are protesting against the bill,” the editors’ statement reads.
“We are well aware of the shortcomings in journalism. And we are also clear about the need to formulate the procedure to address them,” the statement adds. “The bill was introduced without proper consultations with the concerned parties. We call on the government to withdraw the bill and address all concerns surrounding the bill through proper consultation."