A group of journalists were barred from reporting about the meeting of the House of Representatives on September 8 in Kathmandu. Kathmandu is the capital city of federal Nepal.
The parliament's spokesperson Dr. Rojnath Pandey however stated that the restriction was due to the risk of the spread of coronavirus. He further said the parliament meeting was being live streamed through which the journalists could cover the story.
In addition to this, the provincial assembly of Bagmati Province at Makwanpur also barred journalists from entering the assembly for reporting the same day. While selected journalists were allowed to enter the assembly, majority were left outside, reasoning the risk of coronavirus. After the objection, the journalists were able to report on the oath-taking ceremony of the state ministers.
Freedom Forum is concerned over the restriction imposed on the journalists. Although it is justifiable that risk of COIVD 19 transmission is higher when crowded, the concerned authority could have set criteria for the entry of journalists, minimizing crowd and maintaining distance.
Obstructing journalists from doing their job violates the constitutionally guaranteed right to press freedom and access to information.
Hence, FF urges the concerned authority to ensure safe atmosphere for free reporting.
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