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New media law to check undisclosed investment

KATHMANDU: Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Banskota has said that the new media law would regulate undisclosed and non-transparent investment in the media sector. In a democracy, not only the government but the media sector too must be transparent, he said.
Speaking at an interaction on ‘Problems facing Nepali journalism sector and solution’ held at the CIT Ministry to mark the National Journalism Day on Monday, Minister Banskota expressed the view that editorial independence should go together with social accountability. “Media in a democracy must be accountable towards the people, readers, country and the system,” he said while arguing that the freedom to write and publish only, without professional security is incomplete.
The CIT Minister also stressed on classifying the media based on human resource, transaction or investment rather than as small or big media. “The media should be guided by professional security, dignity and social accountability.”
Enforcement of the new media law and structure will lead to a golden era of journalism this year, he added. Likewise, the advertisement law has tried to establish advertisement not as a right but a matter of efficiency. He also expressed the commitment to amend the proposed laws based on feedback from the concerned sector and deliberations to take place in the parliament.
It may be noted that the CIT Ministry has formulated five bills relating to media, media council, public broadcasting service, advertisement and information technology. Of them, three bills have been tabled before the parliament.
On the occasion, CIT Secretary Mahendra Man Gurung said the new law has been formulated to make the media sector transparent and pursuant to federal structure adopted by the country.
The proposed media law provides that the source of investment in the media sector needs to be transparent, foreign investment will be stopped, one institution will not be allowed to run all three kinds of media, provides for penalty, a training academy and journalist welfare fund.
President of Federation of Nepali Journalists Govinda Acharya said the new laws should not be inferior to laws of democratic countries around the world, and should be liberal and worth modeling.
It may be noted the government has been observing Baisakh 24 in the Lunar calendar as the National Journalism Day, marking the publication of the first newspaper of Nepal, Gorkhapatra on Baisakh 24, 1958 Bikram Sambat.

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