MAY 03, 2010 Every year, World Press Freedom Day provides an opportunity to affirm the importance of freedom of expression and press freedom – a fundamental human right enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On World Press Freedom Day 2010 UNESCO is highlighting the theme "Freedom of Information: the Right to Know."
While celebrating World Press Freedom Day, it is unfortunate to release huge number of incidents against press freedom in Nepal. This year too, Nepali press witnesses an upsurge in deliberate incidents of life-threatening assaults and atrocities despite repeated commitments from the government and political parties to curb anti-press incidents. The rise on the trends of burning newspapers and media house to show resentment and vengeance has emerged as a serious problem since it does not only harass media house and workers but also curtails people's constitutional right to access to information. However, Nepali media sees a substantial reduction in the anti-press incidents this year as compared with the number last year.
Freedom Forum Press Freedom Monitoring Desk has recorded a total of 169 incidents of press freedom violation, including the murder of Media entrepreneurs Jamim Shah, chairperson of Space Time Network Private Limited and Arun Singhaniya chairperson of Janakpur Today Media Group, during the period from May 3 2009 to May 2, 2010.
Based on these incidents and research reports, Freedom Forum concludes that lawlessness, lack of professionalism and growing politicization in journalism remained the major triggers to increase self-censorship in Nepali media, resulting in the reduction of in-depth and investigative reporting.
Freedom Forum condemns all the incidents carried out to gag press and curtail journalists’ right to freedom of expression and people’s access to information, and urges the government to come up with concrete measures to end impunity, to ensure reforms in Nepali media and to promote professionalism and pluralism in media.
The Forum also calls upon all sides concerned to exercise restraint and stop attacks and atrocities against press and pay respect to press freedom by recognizing the importance of media role in promoting free flow of information thereby strengthening democracy.
As UNESCO has declared the theme of 'Freedom of Information: the Right to Know' for this year, we call on initiatives from all stakeholders to promote people's access to information and to respect people's right to know.
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