KATHMANDU, Nov 1: Freedom Forum has drawn serious attention to the extreme misuse of the Press Council Nepal against press freedom and journalists’ rights in Nepal. The Press Council Nepal, an agency that monitors media content, has once again sought a national daily a 24-hour explanation as to why it published a cartoon about former Prime Minister and CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli.
Citing the election code of conduct and journalistic code of conduct, the council has sought an explanation saying, “Why did you publish such a cartoon?” On October 20, a cartoon titled ‘Call KP Ba’ was published in Nagarik Daily, a sister publication of Republica. A cartoon is an artistic representation of satirical expression. However, the council has issued a politically-motivated statement and asked for an explanation, which is against the constitutional rights in Nepal.
“The Constitution of Nepal has ensured freedom of press and freedom of expression. However, this move of the council has attacked the freedom of expression. This has devalued the role of Nepali media and journalists,” says a statement issued by Freedom Forum.
“Seeking an explanation from Nagarik Daily for publishing cartoons is an extreme abuse of the state agency – Press Council Nepal. It has violated the constitutional rights of Nepali citizens regarding freedoms of press and expression,” Taranath Dahal, the executive head of Freedom Forum, said. “The Council has devalued the activism and energy of Nepali journalists and media who warned and exposed the incidents of political irregularities and corruption. This will reduce public trust in state agencies.”