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Amendment to media related bills possible: Communications Minister Khatiwada

KATHMANDU: Minister for Communications and Information Technology Dr Yubraj Khatiwada said the bills relating to media would be endorsed after consultations with legal practitioners and media sectors. Receiving a memorandum submitted by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) on Friday, he said the bills would be amended as per need.

“Some bills are stuck at the Council of Ministers, some others sub-judice at parliament and others under discussion at parliamentary committees. There is no big difference in the fundamentals of the bills. But some subjects could be amended as per need and the government is ready in this regard,” he said. Emphasizing a need of regular discussions and interactions between the press and the government, he said the government would seek media cooperation on country’s common issues.

He viewed, “Issues like guarantee of citizen’s fundamental rights, society’s prosperity, good governance, and development of national and international relations are the area where the government needs cooperation from media.” On coronavirus that is fast spreading across the world, Dr Khatiwada said the government would seek media’s cooperation in this regard too.

“Media should cooperate in making people aware and disseminating right information,” he reminding, adding that the government was committed to ensuring journalists’ professional rights by implementing the minimum wage. According to the Minister, discussions were underway with owners of media outlets, investors and mangers.

On the occasion, the FNJ Chairperson Gobinda Acharya urged the government to work for making laws media friendly. “Earlier, we were excluded from discussions to make communication-related laws. As a result, disputes surfaced. So we need our participation in the process of making media related laws,” he reminded. Saying journalists were always committed to their responsibility and ethics, he urged the government to ensure full press freedom.

The 10-point memorandum is all about rights of working journalists. It calls for full guarantee of press freedom and freedom of expression in laws made by the federal, state and local levels and implementation of the National Mass Communication Policy-2073. It also demands that the process to promote stringers serving for five consecutive years as a permanent employee be moved forward. The government was also demanded to regularly monitor media houses on whether they implemented the provision of minimum wages to working journalists.

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