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DPM Khadka Prioritizes Press Freedom


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2023 Oct 16, 15:53, Kathmandu
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Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Purna Bahadur Khadka today said the incumbent government has accorded high priority to press freedom.

Speaking in a programme on 'internet and fake information in Nepal: challenges to democracy and freedom of the press' co-organised by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), the Political Science Association of Nepal and the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, the minister said constitutional and legal arrangements have been made to safeguard and promote the press freedom and freedom of expression.

"The mention of full press freedom in the preamble of the constitution of Nepal and the provision of the right of communications and information as a fundamental right has made it clear that the state has highly prioritised the freedom of the press. We must always commit to the implementation of these rights in a right, balanced, impartial and responsible manner."

He expressed his commitment to doing his best to create the necessary legal and political environment for the effective implementation of the concept of press freedom as mentioned in the constitution.

Stating that the fact could not be denied that the information against the norms, values and principle of journalism has deprived people of right information, he said the government was continuously at work to make the internet platform orderly, respected, safe and useful for life while respecting the freedom of opinion and expression of citizens.

"The government is always aware and alert about the right use of the rights of citizens as specified by the constitution. For this, I want to assure the government in coordination and consultation with stakeholders including the FNJ to make and amend required policies and laws," he said.

Mentioning that the press freedom survives only if democracy survives, he stressed that it required a democratic environment for the expansion of the internet. "A country without democracy cannot have press freedom, neither internet expansion takes pace. Nepal is a country which has provided not only opportunities offered by the internet, but also has connected the internet with the life of people. The incumbent government will not deviate from this policy."

The government would make required policies, laws and plans for the development of information technology, economic transformation, the improvement of the living standards of people and the clarity and creative practice of press freedom, he said.

Similarly, the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission said although the internet has facilitated life, its limitlessness has added challenges. Stating that false, incorrect and confusing information has caused social and religious conflicts, he said failure to differentiate right information from wrong one has made the matter worse.

"False information has breached the right of citizens to get right information, all should focus on stopping false information. Not only have the users false and misleading information affected the media," he said.

Stating that journalists should carry out their duty in the political and social sectors critically, former FNJ President Kishor Nepal stressed the need for the media to be active to restore achievements made through the struggles of people.

Similarly, stating that the inflow of false information is increasing, Ambassador of the United States of America Dean R. Thompson called for all experts to know about what the right information is.

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Purna Bahadur Khadka Federation of Nepali Journalists Constitution of Nepal fundamental right
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