United Nations
Information Centre | Nepal
UNESCO launches South Asia Press Freedom Report 2017-2018
5/4/2018 3:02:59 PM

Kathmandu, 4 May 2018- Journalists have shown tremendous courage for reporting despite of a targeted violence, killings and suppression in many countries, according to the South Asia Press Freedom Report 2017-2018.

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2018, UNESCO launched the report in partnership with the Federation of Nepali Journalists and Freedom Forum which has been prepared by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and supported by UNESCO.

As many as 35 journalists and media staff lost their lives including 22 in Afghanistan, eight in India and five in Pakistan in the last 12 months, states the report. Ten journalists were killed in a single day in Afghanistan on April 30.

The Nepal chapter of the report shows an unusual trend of arresting and detaining 19 journalists within a year with 14 journalists charged under the vaguely worded Public (Crimes and Punishment) Act 1970. “Three currently remain in jail and their status is unknown,” it reads.

Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Deepak Raj Joshi stated that the relation between the judiciary and press is inseparable although the roles are different. “The Court orders are guided by the constitution, which protects and defends the freedom of the press,” he stated.

UNESCO Representative to Nepal, Christian Manhart highlighted the finding of the report where Nepal shows the indicator with the decline in the number of the violations of press freedom since 2015. However, a mechanism to protect journalists has been adopted by National Human Rights Commission in 2015, but has still not yet started to be implemented. “As a consequence, impunity and self-censorship remain issues against press freedom in Nepal,” he added.

Chairperson of the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, Lokendra Mallik stressed on the importance of strong press for the strong democracy and rule of law.

Among the other speakers, Executive Head of Freedom Forum, Tara Nath Dahal, and Acting Chairperson of Press Council, Kishor Shrestha highlighted on the important of the day.

In her message on this year’s theme for the day, Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay has stated, “Any State that respects individual freedoms, and particularly the freedoms of opinion, conscience and expression, relies on a free and independent press that is safe from censorship or coercion.”


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