Journalism encouraging violence is not press freedom: Spokesperson Banskota

press freedom, Gokul Banskota

KATHMANDU, March 24: Spokesperson of the government Gokul Banskota has reiterated that the journalism that encourages violent activities does not meet the values of press freedom. “It’s the responsibility of journalism to speak against injustice. But, does it belongs to press freedom to argue for violence and claim violence as right,” he wondered.

Inaugurating the 35th session of the journalism training organized with the collaboration of Nepal Press Institute and Nepal Press Council here today, the Spokesperson said, “What’s this culture to announce banda and violent activities as right works from radios on the one hand and protest by the FNJ against the arrest of the person claiming such on the other?”

Indicating the Netra Bikram Chand Biplab-led groups, the Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Banskota, said dialogue could not be imagined from the bed made of guns. He asked the group, “First give up bombs, then join talks. It is possible then.” The government was ready to hold talks with Biplab group if it abandoned guns, he underscored.

He further showed concern why the government’s move to bring social networking sites under the tax system was negatively received. According to him, the media are now companies and they would be grown to industry, so it is good. “If the worker at the industry is not given wage, it deserves action. It is not good to advocate for press freedom to do wrong because the industry is shown to demand tax discount,” the Minister reminded the media houses and press freedom advocates.

Moreover, the Minister claimed that it is not press freedom to make the hue and cry while fearing oneself to speak the mind. Although media has the strength to guide society, people’s trust in media will erode when it loses integrity.

As the Minister stated, journalism cannot be a guiding pillar of society if it is done violating the integrity and standard and berating the country. Such journalism serves the example of mobocracy, he said, arguing that although freedom has no limit, integrity has. Freedom must not be soiled with anarchy, he underscored.

The government is seriously working to enforce the minimum wages for working journalists, ensure facilities for journalists and new laws for improvement in the communications sector.

Council Acting Chairperson Kishor Shrestha said growing complaints at the Council against media houses for violations of the code of conduct could be interpreted as an incidence of ‘abuse’ of freedom of the press. As he said, misconducts are seen on online news portals, but the existing Council’s act has not granted the right to take action against those media houses.

FNJ General Secretary Ramesh Bista advised the government to take under control any journalist if he/she is found involved in terrorist activities with evidence from outside, but not from media houses.

Administrative Court Chairperson Kashiraj Dahal viewed media freedom and discipline should be practiced simultaneously.

Senior journalist Gokul Prasad Pokhrel expressed his hope that training would play a role in the promotion of disciplined journalists. NPI Chairperson Neelkantha Upreti said the organization was working to further promote the field of Nepali journalism in cooperation with the government.

According to program coordinator Kapil Kafle, 25 persons were shortlisted for the 10-month training. RSS