‘Journalists forced to remain under self-censorship’

KATHMANDU, APR 18: Journalists are found to have remained confined within limitations while collecting news owing to pressure from political groups, entrepreneurs and commercial organisations.

As a result, concerned stakeholders have underscored the urgency to come up with legal frameworks to create an environment allowing the journalists to hit the field without fear and work professionally.

Attendees of a one-day national conference on self-censorship organised jointly by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and UNESCO stressed that the problems faced by journalists are due to corruption, crime and other reasons.

The participants also underlined the necessity on part of the journalists to pay special focus citing that news fell under self-censorship as a consequence of political belief of journalists, editors and the media organisations.

Increasing impunity over perpetrators involved in physically attacking journalists, pressure from political parties and criminal gangs coupled with unwarranted intervention from the corporate sector and failure to heed to the need for upgrading the relative quality have also contributed in constraining journalists in an atmosphere of fear, they said.

Professional security of journalists is lacking while many journalists are forced to work without an appointment letter and have not received minimum wage. And those who are receiving salary are only getting half the amount of what they should have earned, they added.

The participants also called for scrapping some provisions in the Electronic Transaction Act and carrying out necessary amendments stating it was tantamount to an ambush laid for the journalists.

Press Council Nepal Chairman Borna Bahadur Karki said although self-censorship could not be detected on the surface, journalists were restricted by self-censorship internally.

FNJ President Mahendra Bista stressed that journalists must concentrate on qualitative, commercial aspect and freedom despite the rising number of journalists and media organisations.