AUGUST 26, 2008 Freedom Forum initiated an interaction discussion among Constituent Assembly (CA) Members, including selected journalists, civil society leaders and rights activists regarding the issues related to Press freedom, freedom of expression and opinion, right to information, contempt of court and press, privacy rights and press, state of emergency and press in the capital on August 25, Monday.
Freedom Forum took this initiative with the view to facilitating cooperation and interaction among stakeholders and CA Members on various aspects of above-mentioned issues to be reckoned with in course of framing constitution.
It is the historical beginning of the interaction among CA Members and individuals established in respective areas that helps further advocate the issues in the CA meeting and eases a process towards constitutionally guaranteeing them.
Altogether 25 individuals, including 11 CA Members, OHCHR representatives, ARTICLE 19 among other took part in the interaction
At the outset of the programme, Freedom Forum Chairperson Tara Nath Dahal shed light on the issues to be discussed during the interaction, adding, “It is a small initiative taken towards the constitution building process by enabling an environment of interaction among policy makers and stakeholders on the issues concerned”.
Participating CA members stressed that freedom of expression, press freedom and right to information are the fundamentals of democracy and its good practice should be reinforced with high commitment.
Full-fledge practice of these rights would be a strong means to overcome autocratic mind-sets and manner thereby promote democracy and development, they said, stressing, without the development of information, a nation with rule of law, independent judiciary and democracy could not be imagined.
They underscored the need to constitutionally address these seven issues in line with international standards and practice.
The interaction has began a process to form a strong lobby group of CA Members and media experts to put these issues forward while framing new constitution so that they are not infringed and curtailed.
Freedom Forum has identified altogether 25 CA Members representing various political parties based on their previous experience and background on the issues and at least 11 CA members took part in this initial interaction which the Forum thought a milestone to expedite ahead this process.
The CA Members participated in the discussion are Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Dinanath Sharma, Shanker Pokharel, Agni Kharel, Shobhakar Parajuli, Radheshyam Adhikari, Anil Kumar Jha, Ganesh Sah, Gopal Thakur and Nilambar Acharya.
Likewise, Chief Commissioner of National Information Commission Binaya Kasaju, General Secretary of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Poshan KC, FNJ former Chairperson Suresh Acharya, OHCHR representative, Chiranjivi Kafle of IPI Nepal Chapter, Tanka Aryal of ARTICLE 19 among others took part in the discussion programme.
“The first meeting has identified the issues and tentatively formed a select panel comprising CA Members and media professionals. The series of meetings would take place in the coming days so as to exert pressure to constitutionally incorporate the issues”, said Tara Nath Dahal.
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