Report on status of pandemic-hit print media submitted to government

Sanjeev Nepal

August 20, 2021


Report on status of pandemic-hit print media submitted to government

A delegation of Nepali Print Media National Network handing over a report on the present status of print media to officials at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, in Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, on Friday.

KATHMANDU: An umbrella organization of print media across the country, Print Media National Network, has submitted a report on the present condition of small investment-run print media to the government.

Kishore Shrestha, general secretary of the Network, and Thakur Belbase, member of the Press Council, handed over the report to the Secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, on Friday.

The report details the current scenario of an endangered print media industry that further plunged into crisis after the coronavirus outbreak in late 2019 and the global spread of COVID-19. The report also puts forward recommendations for the promotion and protection of an industry in peril since the development of information technology and the start of the information age. The report concludes that the threat to the survival of print media grew many folds in a pandemic-hit world.

The report dissects every aspect related to publishing newspapers: printing costs, distribution, market, advertisement. It also includes critical matters such as the impact of content produced by electronic media on print journalists and staff, the status of investigative journalism in the country, the principles of journalism, and adherence to the journalistic code of conduct, among others. The rights and duties of working journalists and issues related to them are also included in the report.

The Print Media National Network said the report was a compendium developed after thorough interactions, discussions, and meetings held with stakeholders across Nepal. The organization conducted on-site visits to different parts of the country before preparing the report. According to the Network, the report mirrors the actual picture of print media at present in the country.

Later in the day, Network’s General Secretary Kishore Shrestha and Press Council Chairman Bal Krishna Basnet jointly issued a press release on the situation of the print media industry.

“The reality is that the print media, which played transformative roles for democratic movement and societal change, is facing a difficult situation at this time. The development of information technology had already put the traditional print media in a precarious situation. The print media is pushed further by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in the closures of the printing press, and thus, the dependent families of publishers, journalists and media employees face a big crisis at the moment,” the statement read.

The press release fears that the unavailability of printing paper for newspapers, steadily increasing price of paper, plummeting advertisements, lack of relief package for the print media industry, and unclear policy from the government side would push the media to the brink of collapse and extinction.

The Print Media National Network collaborated with Press Council Nepal to prepare the report, incorporating suggestions to rescue and revive the print media from such a difficult situation.