DECEMBER 11, 2008 The present CPN (Maoist)-led government of Nepal is all prepared to impose new one-door policy regarding the distribution of public advertisement that reflects the draconian attitude of the government to free and professional media. According to Secretary at Ministry of Information and Communication Lilamani Poudel, the draft of new policy on public advertisement and its distribution is on the final stage of preparation that has the provision of constituting separate “advertisement authority” to administer public advertisement distribution.
Secretary Poudel made it clear that the media which do not cooperate the government will be strongly discouraged in accordance with the arrangement enshrined in the new policy. “It would not be appropriate to provide advertisement to the media which do not even give space to the press releases issued by the Ministry”.
It is imperative to bring new policy in media as in other sectors and the new policy will come to effect soon accordingly, he added. But the prevailing public advertisement policy has clearly specified that the small scale government welfare advertisement shall be distributed among classified media in proportional way. Other government aid are freely distributed to media.
Out of the total advertisement transaction worth 2.5 billion during a year, government aid bears 35-40 per cent while private advertisement carries 60-65 per cent.
On the other, advertisement agencies asserted that they would not allow the enforcement of any such policy introduced in the name of nurturing the media which are close to the government and serve its interest.
“The new advertisement policy resembles to the most-criticized one-door policy introduced during the Royal Regime to serve own petty interest”, said Freedom Forum Chairperson Taranath Dahal. Freedom Forum strongly condemns the government’s attitude of suppressing free media and free market by imposing such controlling actions upon media. It is the straight interference upon media and advertisement agency which shows the government does not intend to promote free press but wants to sanction economic blockade to force media to work in its favour.
The Forum urges the government to withdraw such provisions and come up with the policy that suits best to the promotion of professional journalism in the backdrop of Federal-Democratic-Republic Nepal. The Forum also calls for the solidarity from all journalists, media house, advertisement agencies and national and international organizations working for the cause of free press to raise voice against such regressive move on Nepali media.
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