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State affairs committee bars journalists from reporting the meeting

The State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the federal parliament has barred the journalists from reporting on the committee meeting during deliberation on a key bill related to civil service on June 25, 2020.

The committee headed by ruling Nepal Communist Party leader Shashi Shrestha has been barring journalists from accessing the meeting hall time and again. All parliamentary committee meetings are open for journalists in Nepal after 1990, the popular people's uprising that toppled the Panchayat regime in the country.

Journalist Jaya Singh Mahata of www.ekantipur.com told FF's representative Ashok Dahal that journalists were stopped outside the meeting hall by marshals citing the committee's order not to allow journalists inside.

"The committee stopped us outside the meeting hall today. We learnt that the committee chairperson asked marshals not to allow journalists in the meeting expressing discontent over media reporting about the discussions in the committee," he said.

As many as 10 journalists from various media including print, online and television, were affected by the decision of the committee. A member of the committee Jhapat Rawal told journalists later that he was unaware about journalists barred from accessing the committee reporting.

Freedom Forum is concerned over obstruction imposed on journalists while reporting. It is sheer violation of press freedom and citizen's right to information. Ensuring citizen's access to information on such issues of public concern is the responsibility of concerned authority but barring journalists from reporting instead is condemnable. Hence, FF urges the committee members to respect journalists' rights and not obstruct those in future meetings.

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