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Bill on forming Nepal Media Council draws mixed reactions

KATHMANDU: The bill related to forming Nepal Media Council has drawn mixed responses from stakeholders. Some have denounced the measure as an effort intended to curtail press freedom, while others have supported the move.
Those favoring it were of the view that the issue could be taken up with Minister for Communications and Information Technology and seek a solution (if any). They put their views at a face-to-face program organised at Reporters’ Club Nepal. Speaking at the program, general secretary of the Federation of Nepali Journalists Ramesh Bista demanded withdrawal of the bill reasoning it has spread fear among journalists by provisioning penalty up to Rs 1 million and 15 years of imprisonment.
Likewise, Nepal Press Union President Badri Sigdel expressed his solidarity for the protest against the bill terming it an ill-effort muzzle up the freedom of press. He also demanded a scrap of some provisions of the bill against the press freedom. Chairperson of the Jana Patrkar Sangathan Nepal, Prakash Durmu also demanded a cancellation of the bill.
Chairperson of the Nepal Press Organisation Maheshwor Dahal however described the bill as something that would not affect the press as such. He was of the view that journalists should exercise some level of discipline, and stressed the need for monitoring and regulating big media houses for their impartial journalism exercise.

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