Journalists and experts taking part in an interaction on Media Bill.
KATHMANDU: Experts have suggested that instead of bringing the controversial Media Bill, the Press Council Act should be empowered.
They also opined that the Media Bill would stifle the freedom of the press and that it should be stopped.
Kalyani Khadka, chairman of the Development and Technology Committee of the Federal Parliament, said that the committee should be scrapped as it is an attempt to introduce a law that would harm journalists.
After taking suggestions from the media, Khadka, the chairman of the committee, emphasized the need for a detailed discussion as it was found that the government brought the bill in haste without consulting the stakeholders.
A sensitive issue like the press should not be brought up in haste.
Journalist Hari Bahadur Thapa expressed his surprise that this bill, which was initially introduced with an opaque and authoritarian mindset, was introduced by the current government.
“How has this bill, which the parties earlier said would harm the media, become democratic now?” he asked.
Thapa opined that the Press Council should be strengthened.
Journalist Sagar Pandit suggested to the government amend the Press Council Act and provide resources.
He suggested that since the Media Council Bill was introduced with the intention of canceling the registration of newspapers, the entire media world should oppose it.
Full press freedom is guaranteed in the constitution itself, he said alleging the government of trying to bring a Bill to curtail press freedom.
Journalist Gobinda Prasad Chaulagai, Secretary of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, objected to the fact that the government has brought it in haste without discussing it with stakeholders.
Deputy General Secretary of Press Chautari Surojang Pandey said that the provisions of the Bill are against the Constitution and should be stopped.
Advocate Ananta Raj Luintel claimed that the controversial bill has taken away the rights of not only journalists but also the people.
“There has been an attack on the freedom of the press. The government has brought the bill with wrong intentions,” he said.