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US Mass Media Expert Says-Nepal Should Implement Media Laws

Nepal’s strong constitutional provisions on the press alone won’t uphold press freedom, so the government and political parties should be serious to implement in practice the laws related to media, said an American Associate Professor.

Failure to implement the existing laws concerning press freedom has made the Nepali press sector feel wretched, Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication of Arizona State University Dr Joseph Russomanno said in an interview with the National News Agency (RSS) in course of Nepal trip on July 27, 2011.

Be it a developed country or a developing nation, press freedom has greater significance and no governments can be accountable in its absence and transparency as well as good governance cannot be maintained at the same time, said Russomanno. It was the responsibility of the government and its all mechanisms to create press freedom friendly environment, he asserted.

Since Nepal is in the process of drafting a new constitution, Nepal’s parties should work for guaranteeing press freedom to make it impossible for the government to snatch press freedom even if it wants, he said calling on media persons to fight for their rights.

Referring to his interactions with several media houses, journalists, mass media colleges and government authorities, the American mass communication expert said it was unfortunate that journalists are being physically assaulted and threatened just for writing news reports.

Taking advantage of impunity, some anarchist forces have been launching attacks on the press, he said. “The political parties shouldn’t encourage these activities, rather they should help bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Citing the tendency of influencing media by political parties even in America, he said any attack on the press was a crime. Press freedom cannot be conditional and at the same time it cannot have multi meanings, he said.

He also maintained that journalism was not a cash cow and the media sector shouldn’t be developed commercially.

The arrangement for the interview was made by Freedom Forum. Dr Russomanno had come to Nepal to share his ideas and experience at a time the country is striving for making new constitution which needs to guarantee the press freedom. His ideas and suggestions for the guarantee of the press freedom in new constitution are expected to press the concerned bodies to this regard.