KATHMANDU: Freedom Forum is concerned over the Election Commission’s recent move to monitor and regulate the contents published in media and social media during the upcoming federal and provincial elections.
According to the news reports, the commission is planning to form a monitoring mechanism involving Nepal police Cyber Bureau, Nepal army, advertisement board, cyber board, Press Council, Nepal Telecommunication Authority, and computer operator.
The team will be named as ‘Press Office’ and will be responsible to monitor the Nepali media and social media contents as directed by the Election code of conduct.
The concept paper approved by the Commission on Press Office ensures its right to delete any mis/disinformation on digital media and punish anyone who is allegedly found disseminating fake information on the basis of complaints.
The commission neither has any expertise to monitor such contents nor the right as directed by the constitution.
The commission’s move has clearly violated citizen’s right to free expression as guaranteed by the constitution.
Freedom Forum reminds the commission that Press Council Nepal is responsible to monitor and regulate contents published in media.
So, this is an authoritarian move of the commission which is targeted to silence the public during election in the name of monitoring the adoption of election code of conduct.
While the code of conduct itself was widely criticized for its suppressive provisions on freedom of expression earlier, FF had urged the Election Commission to be aware of the value of the freedom of expression while implementing the code.