Freedom Forum has been continuously observing the political and legislative developments so that bills, especially related to the freedom of expression, journalists’ rights and internet freedoms could be analysed and timely change ensured.

In this regard, FF studied the Media Council Bill submitted in the upper house of the federal parliament, National Assembly, and provided feedback to the lawmakers and parliament secretariat.

The points that warrant attention were identified and the lawmakers suggested as recommendations. FF made the suggestions in 24 points.

The points for the amendment were on structure of the Press Council, recommendation committee, code/ethics and self-regulations, journalists’ accreditation, independence and accountability.

Freedom Forum Executive Chief Taranath Dahal observed that although there was a slight improvement in the Bill as compared to the previous initiatives, lawmakers could still forward some recommendations to make the Bill FoE-friendly. The Act should come in a way as to foster journalistic practices and values rather than to impose code by the government.

He further stressed that protection and promotion of FoE on internet is a need of hour, so any provision in the Bill should not breach the healthy practice of FoE in this new medium. Also, revision on the traditional structure of Press Council Nepal is imperative to fit the present development of IT which has facilitated the internet freedoms, Mr Dahal underlined.