KATHMANDU: As the world is celebrating World Press Freedom Day with much fanfare, Nepali journalists are deprived from entering the courtroom, seriously infringing on their rights to collect news independently. The Supreme Court, which has the respecting the people’s freedom has been barring journalists from covering the events since Tuesday.
On Thursday, journalists covering the court beat were denied access to the courtroom by security personnel. When asked to explain the rationale behind the new measure, the policemen simply said, “We were told not to allow journalists access to the courtroom.”
The SC administration has been tightening its screw on journalists since Justice Girish Chandra Lal evicted Kantipur reporter Ghanshyam Khadka from his courtroom early this week. Khadka was reporting on a hearing on writs filed against the recommendation to appoint the controversial former Chief Secretary Lokman Singh Karki as chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).
“We are completely clueless about the goings-on at the court. How can we report accurately on court affairs if this obstruction continues?” reports quoted Yam Birahi, who reports on court affairs, who is also the chairman of the Constitutional and Judicial Journalists’ Forum as saying.
Rights activists and civil society members have taken serious exception to the SC measure. “After the head of the judiciary took the office of the head of the government, journalists’ right to collect information has been controlled. It indicates that the country is moving towards a regressive regime,” said former FNJ president Harihar Birahi.
The National Human Rights Commission said any infringement on the journalists’ unhindered right to collect information is a direct attack on civil rights.
The Vice-president of the Nepal Bar Association called on the media fraternity to maintain their vigil against a “technocrat-led government which has the ulterior motive of muzzling the media.”
The World Press Freedom Day is being celebrated across the globe today (May 3) by organizing various programs. In Nepal Federation of Nepalese Journalists organized a rally in the Capital and other parts of the country to mark the day. The journalists taking part in the rally demanded personal as well as professional security of journalists. FNJ and other media related organizations have been organizing various programs today to mark the day.
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