Freedom Forum is alarmed again over the obstruction on journalists from reporting the meeting of State Affairs Committee under the federal parliament in Kathmandu on May 16. Kathmandu is the central capital city located in Province 3 of Nepal.
FF's representative in Province 3, Ashok Dahal, reported that the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the federal parliament had barred the journalists from reporting the Committee meeting during deliberation on important issue - bill on federal civil service. A dozen of journalists from national dailies, online and television were present at the meeting hall gate.
This is the fourth time that journalists were barred reporting the meeting of the parliamentary Committee. Earlier, journalists were barred from reporting Committee during briefing from Defense Minister and from Chiefs security agencies as well as Home Ministry officials about progress of the probe on rape and murder of 13-year-old school student Nirmala Panta in Kanchanpur.
Journalists Society for Parliamentary Affairs also condemned the Committee's move for curtailing journalists' right to reporting and informing the public.
Representative Dahal quoted Himalaya Television's correspondent Srijana Ghimire as saying, "They were stopped by security marshals outside the meeting hall citing the order from the Committee Chairperson."
To reiterate here, all parliamentary Committees were open for journalists after 1990's popular uprising that toppled party-less Panchayat system, thereby restoring the multi-party democracy.
FF condemns the Committee's move because it is against the fundamental notion of transparency, accountability and right to information. Its is the breach of press freedom. FF therefore urges the state authorities and the particular Committee to respect the journalists' rights and ensure free flow of information keeping in account the transparency and accountability.
For more information,