Reported by: Deepa Adhikari

Province 3 Speaker Sanu Kumar Shrestha pointed out the need of formulating policy to provide easy access for journalists to report parliamentary affairs in view of the new set up of provincial assembly.  Shrestha said it during a dialogue on ‘Open Parliament and Practices’  organized by Freedom Forum in Kathmandu on November 15. It was held with the support from Parliament Support Programme/UNDP  .

Provincial assembly is also holding consultations with experts and stakeholders to develop laws as per the need, shared Speaker Shrestha. Also, he  urged media and CSOs  to play the watchdog role to make the provincial assembly accountable and transparent.

On the occasion, Freedom Forum Executive Chief Taranath Dahal briefed the participants of concept of open parliament and practices. He stressed the importance of open parliament in the present scenario in Nepal- As Nepal is qualified from every aspect to join OGP (Open Government Partnership), Nepal government must not delay to join the global bandwagon of OGP.

Similarly, Policy Adviser Krishna Sapkota  shed light on the benefit of open government practice- it builds trustworthy partnership between government and civil society. He stressed that Nepal would benefit from the membership of OGP, adding that it helps promote transparency, accountability and citizen empowerment.

For strengthening good governance open government  and open parliament practices are necessary, stressed Province 3  Assembly member Narottam Vaidya addressing the program.

Likewise, Provincial Assembly member Chhiring Dorje Lama expressed worry over lack  of coordination among media, parliament and civil society members.

”Our parliament lacks enough discussion with multiple stakeholders on draft bills,” said Province 3 Assembly member Nima Lama, stressing that Assembly member should be accountable towards public.

To adopt  coordinating governance and legislative approach, open government and open parliament concept would be important tool, according to Former Chief Secretary of Nepal government, Dr. Somlal Subedi.

Among other lawmakers expressing their views on the occasion were Deepak Niraula, Biraj Bhakta Shrestha, Ramesh Poudel, Sita Adhikari, Bijay Shrestha KC, Dipendra Shrestha and Public Account Committee Chair Nhuchhe Narayan Shrestha.

Concluding the program, FF Chairperson Haribinod Adhikari urged the lawmakers to adopt the principles of open parliament.

Senior journalists, CSOs representatives, and lawyers also underlined the need for adhering to open parliament principles and practices in effectively carrying out law-making, representation and oversight functions.

The program was attended by 61 persons including lawmakers, media persons, government officials, university teachers, and legal practitioners.