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National Assembly passes Nepal Media Council Bill


KATHMANDU: The National Assembly has unanimously passed the much-talked-about Nepal Media Council Bill, 2076 today.
Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Gokul Prasad Baskota, had presented a proposal seeking passage of the ‘Nepal Media Council Bill, 2076BS’ in the meeting of the National Assembly.
The Bill has been endorsed by the Upper House of the Federal Parliament by removing the provisions for journalists’ license, examination and registration, as agreed to in the Legislation Management Committee.
The National Assembly’s session had passed the Bill without any opposition after Minister Baskota announced that the amendment proposals to the Bill related to examination, license, registration and archiving have been accepted.
Discussions were held on the Bill along with the report of the Legislation Management Committee before it was endorsed.
Responding to questions related to the Bill raised by lawmakers in course of the discussions, Communications and Information Technology Minister Baskota said the Bill has been brought for the legal redress of those victimized by the media.
Giving example of Portugal where there was a provision of license for journalists, he said the topic of journalists sitting for an examination to acquire license was not a bad idea in itself.
“This Bill has been brought to check whether the professional fairness and the code of conduct has been followed or not with the thinking that the media should not always ‘carry a sword’ in their hands,” he reasoned.
Stating that the Media Council is a regulatory body from where people victimized by the media get justice, Minister Baskota said that however this was not the only main law for the journalists. He argued that the Bill has ensured the citizen’s right to file a complaint against the media through the Council.
“Before, the Council itself was an evaluator, examiner and an examinee. Now, it is only an examiner and not an examinee,” he said, adding that bthe the topic of self-regulation of the media would be incorporated in a separate law. He stated that the details regarding mediation would be incorporated in the Regulations.
Taking part in the discussions on the Bill before this, Chief Whip of the ruling Nepal Communist Party in the National Assembly, Khim Lal Bhattarai contended that the Bill has been presented for approval from the Upper House after thorough discussions. He said nobody should have any doubts regarding the Bill constricting the press freedom since the NCP has from the time of its establishment struggled for democracy and freedom.
Lawmaker from NCP Komal Oli said there was no need of the provision for the journalists to sit for an examination to acquire license as the full press freedom has been guaranteed in the fundamental rights section of the constitution itself.
Main opposition party, Nepali Congress lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari said that the main opposition party had been expressing its opposition to the provisions in the Bill related to examination, license and registration from the beginning. He had urged the Assembly to pass the Bill only after removing these provisions.
“The journalist is facing a test every time each day. If the readers and audience do not like the particular journalist’s presentation and style, that journalist will automatically be forced to exit from the profession. So, why is there a need for another examination for the journalist,” he wondered.
Ramprit Paswan, Jeevan Budha, Bimala Rai Poudel among other lawmakers had put forth their views in course of the clause-wise discussions on the Bill in the National Assembly today.

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Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point
Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point
Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point