Nepal loses six spots on global press freedom index to rank 112th out of 180 countriesEnvironment for journalists working for independent media outlets has been extremely difficult, Reporters Without Borders report says.
Nepal has dropped six places on the global press freedom index taking the spot of 112 among 180 countries, according to the annual analysis report of Reporters Without Borders released on Tuesday.
Nepal has slumped down from its last year’s ranking of 106, the spot it had held in 2018 as well.
The World Press Freedom Index 2020, annually released by Reporters Without Borders, attributed Nepal’s drop on global press freedom index to the KP Sharma Oli administration for introducing draconian laws for restrictions of freedom of the press in the country.
With the threat of prosecution and continuing violence in the field, the environment for journalists working for independent media outlets has been extremely difficult, the report said.
“KP Oli sang the praises of press freedom and pluralism when he was in opposition but, since becoming prime minister in February 2018, he has tried to gag journalists by getting parliament to pass extremely draconian legislation,” reads the report.
The current government had been under criticism for bringing out several laws like the Electronic Transaction Act and Media Council Bill aimed at limiting press freedom in the country. Several national and international civil rights groups have been raising concerns at the government’s regressive ways to restrict freedom.
“The new criminal code adopted in August 2018 contains several provisions that hamper investigative reporting and restrict criticism of public figures,” adds the report. “The government has also tried to get parliament to pass a law providing for a journalistic content regulator whose members would be named directly by the executive.”
The report has further pointed out that another disturbing development is the “anti-media rhetoric” which government representatives have begun using and which has been widely reproduced in the government’s newspapers, radio stations and TV channels.
Nepal has secured third place in South Asia after Bhutan (67) and Maldives (79). Bangladesh with the ranking of 151 remains the lowest-ranked among south Asian countries, followed by Pakistan (145), India (142), Sri Lanka (127) and Afghanistan (122).