The government brought the policies and programs on May 15. It is the outline of the upcoming budget.
Although various issues were brought forth around present crisis, the policies and programs failed to announce any relief to the media sector which is also suffering worst in the present COVID-19 crisis. Thousands of journalists have been jobless and media houses closed in the wake of lockdown enforced to contain the coronavirus since March 24 in Nepal.
At a time when the Nepali media has been dented much and its presence has shrunk badly, thereby depriving citizens of their right to credible information and diminishing watchdog role for good governance, the government policies and programs could bring any support package for media industry. But the absence of such package has saddened the entire media fraternity.
Moreover, there was no commitment to end impunity against journalist; no commitment to ensure media freedom in practice; no clear plan to transform state-run Radio and TV to public service broadcasting; no commitment in regarding participatory law making in context of media law, information technology and freedom of expression and association; no any response in regards to open government participation and no commitment for better RTI implementation.
“Safety of journalists and protection of media is also the dire need at present. Journalism has bigger role in the crisis. A well functioning democracy cannot be imaged in absence of active journalists and robust media. Therefore, government still has time to address the present crisis in Nepali media through the budget,” observed Taranath Dahal, Executive Chief at Freedom Forum.
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