DECEMBER 11, 2008 Freedom Forum organized a daylong programme to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Kathmandu on December 9 amid a distinguished gathering of media professionals, human rights defenders, press freedom and freedom of expression activists, legal parishioners and Constituent Assembly (CA) members. Various speakers expressed concern over deteriorating situation of the freedom of expression as the press, even after the restoration of democratic system, could not be independent and have favourable time to disseminate news and views.
The participants at a programme on 'Condition of the Freedom of Expression in Nepal' said the human rights issue was shadowed due to growing impunity.
Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Kedar Nath Upadhyay said when human rights situation is to be assessed in any country; press freedom and security to journalists would be taken as indicators. It is a matter of great concern that the press, the fourth estate, is unsafe, he added.
Guarantee of press freedom and freedom of expression and opinion is crucial because information regarding incidents of human rights violation taking place in various parts of the world would not have been imparted anymore had there not been the freedom of expression, he stressed, adding-the state should be proactive and serious towards ensuring security to journalists who are increasingly under attack and threats in Nepal.
He claimed that ruling party CPN (Maoist) has boosted up the morale of its youth wing YCL to work against rule of law.
Chairman Upadhyay informed that the NHRC was planning to have alliance with the organizations working for the protection of press freedom in this issue.
Human Rights vanguard Krishna Pahadi said the media sector in Nepal was deteriorating due to the culture of intolerance. He stressed on the implementation of the Working Journalists Act and management of social security to the journalists.
The state mechanism itself is being involved in the violation of human rights, claimed Pahadi. “The state has turned its deaf ear in ensuring social security of working journalists and government’s inability to take actions against perpetrators has heralded possibility of promoting culture of gun.”
Human rights leader Pahadi added journalists are facing rising trend of insecurity and uncertainty at the moment due to extremism manifested with respect to politics, caste, religion and region.
Deputy Chief of the UN Office in Nepal, Jyoti Sandhya said as the press is one of important mediums of human rights protection, it should be made more independent.”
Acknowledging the crucial role Freedom Forum has been playing to promote culture of information and advocate for the protection and promotion of free press and freedom of expression in Nepal, she voiced her concern over the abrupt increase of incidents of human rights violation during the last two years.
Similarly, FNJ General Secretary Poshan KC said there was growing attack on press in the recent times. He demanded severe action against the murders of the scribes.
Freedom Forum Chairman Tara Nath Dahal opined that unless there was fearless environment to express views, the democratic system would not be guaranteed in any country.
UDHR is the ever best document of present civilization and a common commitment to make this world peace and beautiful he said, adding, right to freedom of expression and opinion as enshrined in Article 19 of UDHR is the mother of all other human rights.
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