AUGUST 14, 2008 On the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day- 2008, on May 3, Freedom Forum appeals to the entire Nepali citizens to be alert on promotion of fearless, responsible, free and pluralistic press to establish a people-oriented, transparent, and fully democratic state mechanism.
Journalists and media are the vanguards of democracy and human rights. The journalists and media should get an uninfringed freedom and environment to work so as to provide correct and factual information as well as analysis and varieties of opinions based on facts.
The journalists and media can reach effective services for the rights of the people to know only if they have an opportunity to work unhindered. Therefore, the issue of the security of the journalists and the freedom of the media falls under the criterion of people's concern and state's main responsibility. On the World Press Freedom Day, worldwide concern and solidarity are accorded with a view that the journalists be able to work courageously, there be abundance of free media and there be easy access of the masses in the media. On this occasion, we also express our strong solidarity.
Nepal is passing through a sensitive, complex and crucial moments of transition. Constituent Assembly members elected by the people are going to engage in framing a constitution. To build a federal republican and democratic state, the new constitution should be quite advanced and as per the democratic ideals and norms well accepted worldwide.
On this day, we call on all the political parties and CA members to make serious realization and strong commitment on mainly three issues. These are - full guaranteeing of uninfringed freedom of expression and opinion, guaranteeing of free press, and the right to information, and should be guaranteed in the new constitution. This only would help promote free, impartial and multiparty media. And, a strong basis will be built for making a prosperous and democratic Nepal that is people-oriented with a government of good governance.
Even organizations and individuals, who are said to be democratic, hesitate to put into practice press freedom. Persons and organizations who have authoritarian thinking are always against the free press as authoritarianism of ideas and practice will be always in crisis because of press freedom. In Nepal's context, there is a majority of forces who have such authoritarian thinking. They are not devoted to open society, transparency, and democratic state system, and full guaranteeing of civil rights. They only express lip service. Free and professional press can not be guaranteed with such commitment unless the parties which have leadership giving irresponsible expressions, threatening and terrorizing the free press and the cadres who are inspired to abduct and kill journalists.
Nepalese press has given positive contribution to bring armed forces to the competitive politics of peaceful mainstream. In the past, the mission of struggle of the Nepalese press was the establishment of peace and to make an end to the feudalistic royal autocracy. The press, which had the concept that there can be no other resolution of the Maoist problem except for dialogue was itself 'Maoist' in the eye of the past regimes. The same press is now 'capitalist' and 'reactionary' for the Maoists. Press freedom remains always in the sphere of challenge unless the false thinking of seeing only two sides- either supporters or opponents is not ended.
Feudal, autocratic and authoritarian rulers only see and use the media as the tool of their praise and publicity. Authoritarians describe those who become the tools as people-oriented and those who do not become as bourgeoisies. Likewise, the feudalists rank as patriots those lackeys who praise them and as anti-national to those who are adherent to professional ethics. All kinds of extremism and radicalism always remain as threat to the free press.
Therefore, on this day, whereas the Nepalese press should exhibit the capability to fight by uniting against such anti-freedom tendencies, which can still increase in the future, the masses need to join hand and encourage such militant press.
On this day, we extend special honour to all the media colleagues who sacrificed and struggled for civil freedom and for dissemination of factual information and are devoted for professional journalism, and express greetings to them all.
May 2, 2008
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