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International Relations committee bars journalists from reporting the committee meeting

Freedom Forum is concerned over the International Relations Committee of the federal parliament obstruction to journalists from reporting the committee meeting on June 7, 2019 (Friday).

FF's representative for Province 3 Ashok Dahal reported that journalists were barred from reporting during the discussion on a probe-committee report on wide-body aircraft purchase for the national flag career.

"Committee Chairperson Parwata Niroula Kharel asked journalists to go out of the hall as soon as the meeting commenced", informed Dahal quoting Jaya Singh Mahara, parliamentary affairs journalist at www.thahakhabar.com (an online news portal).

Around 15 to 20 journalists from different Television, Print and Online media have been affected from accessing information from the parliamentary committee which is also known as mini parliament.

Public Account Committee of the parliament has already asked the anti-graft body to probe purchase of wide-body aircraft for the national flag career, citing embezzlement.

Earlier journalists were barred from reporting in the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the parliament at least four times. A notice issued by the committee the day before about the meeting didn't mention that the meeting would be closed.

"Journalist Mahara complained that they were invited through a notice but when the meeting started at 11:30 am committee chairperson Kharel asked them to leave the meeting hall," said Dahal.

Even though all parliamentary committees remain open for journalists after 1990, the popular people's uprising that toppled Panchayat regime in the country, barring journalists to report is violation of press freedom and people's right to information. Such incidents also fuel non-transparency and regressive move of the government.

Hence, FF urges the concerned authority to respect the rights of press freedom and adopt open government culture to build informed citizenry.

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