-  Saturday 15 August 2020

    Don't Touch The Press

     -  Gorkhapatra

    July 24 2007 - At a time when the smooth functioning of private publication houses is getting disturbed due to activities of some politically-motivated employees associated with the publications, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has made it clear that the government would not tolerate attacks, in whatever form, against a free press. He also termed the attack against the free press as an attack against democracy itself. Premier Koirala made the commitment to safeguard the free press during a meeting with a delegation of Media Society Nepal Sunday. His remarks should come as a respite to private publication houses as it would discourage the politically-motivated employees from resorting to violent activities to disturb the functioning of the free press. No doubt, a free press is synonymous with democracy. A free press cannot flourish without democracy, and the latter does get strengthened in the absence of the former. In this sense, an attack against the free press, as said by Prime Minister Koirala, is an attack against democracy. We have also experienced this in Nepal in the past 17 years.

    Indeed, the Nepali press has been able to reach its present height due to the democratic change of 1990, as the democratic governments formed thereafter let the press grow freely. However, the Nepali press was gagged for a short period after the Royal takeover in 2005. To free the press from the clutches of autocratic rule, the Nepalese people had to launch a democratic movement, which in April last year breached all the barriers set up by the rulers against the free press. Of course, the free press played a crucial role in ending the Royal rule and re-establishing democracy in Nepal. But again, even in this age of democracy, the press has been under the attack, which deserves condemnation from all sectors of the society. No one has the right to attack or dictate terms to the press to fulfil his petty interests. The press plays a crucial role in informing and educating the public on various issues. Now the country is heading towards holding the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections, and the press could be of great help in creating an election-friendly environment and generating awareness among the people about the importance of the CA polls. The press could be a useful tool in ending the violence in the Terai. But when the press itself becomes the target, there is little chance of improving the present state of affairs. Even Prime Minister Koirala has sought a great deal of co-operation from the media in making the CA elections successful. In fact, only anti-democratic elements, both in Nepal and elsewhere, will go against the growth of a free press, and the recent attacks against the press in Nepal should be judged from this point of view. Thus, all who are truly democrats and want the smooth growth of the press should stand against attacks on the press so as to safeguard the hard achieved press freedom and democracy.

    Source : Gorkhapatra
    © FRANCE NEPAL info

    Other articles by reporter Gorkhapatra

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