FEBRUARY 10, 2009 A book entitled "The Agenda for Change on Right to Freedom of Expression in Nepal" prepared on the joint initiative of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Freedom Forum and Article 19 was made public amid a distinguished gathering. in the capital on February 5, Thursday. Chairperson of Constituent Assembly (CA) Subas Nembang rele4ased the book. Appreciating the efforts in setting out the agendas on freedom of expression and preparing a book, Chairperson Nembang said press freedom and freedom of expression and opinion are the pillars of democracy.
Making public the book prepared on the joint initiative of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Freedom Forum and Article 19, Chairperson Nembang underlined that all political parties should move ahead in unison till the new constitution drafted and enforced. The Constituent Assembly (CA) should be developed as a place to forge consensus and collaboration among the political parties. he stressed.
Informing that preparation is being made to reach among people in all 75 districts to collect people's recommendations in the course of drafting constitution, he added all sides should implement the commitments they made in the past.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairperson Kedarnath Upadhyay said as independent judiciary, press freedom, human rights and democracy are the intertwined issues; integrated approach is a must to move ahead these issues.
Right to freedom of expression and opinion is not only the right of journalists and media housel rather it is the wider subject associated with the liberty of entire Nepali people, he added.
Unified CPN (Maoist) spokesperson Dinanath Sharma pledged his party's commitment for democratic consolidation and guarantee of press freedom and human rights in keeping with the view that civilized society could only be nurtured in democracy.
Nepali Congress (NC) leader Dr. Ramsharan Mahat underscored the need of establishing rule of law to pay respect to all rights including right to life. He added that freedom of expression is a strong tool to reduce poverty and improve quality of life of people.
CPN-UML leader Ishwor Pokharel said all forces should reach to a consensus to deal with the issues such as national integrity, societal transformation and drafting federal democratic constitution and also urged media sector to play the role of watchdog in a bid to avert the problems surfaced in democracy.
Tarai Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) leader Hridayesh Tripathi said the State's treatment has terrorized entire media sector and opined that freedom of expression and opinion could not be viewed isolating it from fundamental rights.
Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) leader Jitendra Dev said his party's stance is that democracy could not even be imagined without right to express own opinion freely
Ambassador of United Kingdom to Nepal Dr. Andrew Hall said anybody who threatens and assault on journalists and media houses should be booked.
United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression Frank La Rue stressed the need to avert the culture of impunity so as to ensure the protection of freedom of expression.
FNJ Chairperson Dharmandra Jha strongly protested the government's apathy towards curbing anti-press incidents when media sector was reeling under serious threats and atrocities.
Freedom Forum Chairperson Taranath Dahal said the book would pave the way for constitutionally guarantee the rights to press freedom and freedom of expression and opinion which is not only the rights of journalists but of general public.
Head of Office of UNESCO in Nepal Dr. Colin Kaiser said right to freedom of expression should be given due attention while drafting the new constitution.
Article 19 Senior Legal Counsel Toby Medel presented AFC report and said the 63 recommendations incorporated in the report are significant to move ahead agenda of press freedom and freedom of expression in Nepal in line with international standards.
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