Over 100 cases of press freedom violations reported between May 2018 and April 2019

Press freedom violation

By Shirish Bahadur Pradhan

KATHMANDU, May 3: Over hundred cases of press freedom violations between May 2018 and April 2019 were recorded in Nepal, according to a data released by a watchdog dedicated to the cause of independent media in Nepal, on the eve of World Press Freedom Day.

Most of the violations took place when journalists were covering stories on public interest issues, crime, irregularities, corruption and political demonstrations, the report stated.

The statistics said as many as 104 press freedom violations were reported between May 2018 and April 2019. Of the total cases, 66 were reported last year.

Of the total violations that took place this year till April, 31 were cases of attacks and manhandling, followed by 28 cases of misbehavior, 19 threats, 15 arrests, six vandalism and obstruction, one suspension and one arson, and three court cases, the report said.

According to the report, junior security personnel, political cadres and business persons remained hostile to journalists this year as well.

As per the province-wise analysis, Province 3, which is also home to the capital city of Kathmandu, witnessed the highest number of 39 violations, the data revealed.

The study noted that over a dozen bills related to information and mass communications were drafted or enacted by the government over the period.

However, some provisions in the proposed bills were inconsistent with the international instruments on the rights to expression and the constitution.

“For instance, the Criminal and Civil Code Act posed a threat to the freedom of expression in the name of national security, privacy, defamation, blasphemy, obscenity and hate speech,” the report said.

In straight violation of press freedom, obtaining approval from concerned authorities was made mandatory for journalists for taking photographs, it said.

The report also underlined that Individual Privacy Act was aimed at discouraging journalists to publish or broadcast investigative stories under the pretext of privacy of public figures and public offices.