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  • A journalist wears a cap that reads 'Press Freedom.'

    A journalist wears a cap that reads 'Press Freedom.' | Photo: EFE

Published 4 May 2019

The FNJ has recorded 58 instances of press freedom violations since May of last year.

An annual report by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), released Friday, indicated that the Nepali government's press-related legislation does not align with the international standard for freedom of the press.

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In a section of the report titled "the legal stranglehold," it states that the legislative provisions drafted by Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli's government "are contrary to global standards of press freedom, freedom of the expression and freedom of the internet."

The provisions listed in the report came into effect last year under Sections 293 to 308 of the Civil and Criminal Codes. These provisions criminalize "activities such as listening to or recording conversations between two or more people without consent or authority, publicizing private information of others found during professional works without consent or authority, and receiving or sending unauthorized information or messages through an electronic medium and publishing them."

The aforementioned activities are punishable by a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Director of the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJ)-Nepal, and former FNJ President, Shiva Gaunle claims that these provisions are intended for privacy and to prevent defamation. 

Gaunle clarified that "despite being good overall, the problem is that the Act does not differentiate between the private and public life of people. Journalists should have the right to report and write about the public life of people."

Another aspect of Nepal's restrictive legislation that garnered negative attention was the draft of the Information and Technology Bill, which requires all social networking sites to register in Nepal in order to operate. The Bill also criminalizes "improper" posts on social media, making them punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of around US$13,500.

“More than 80 journalists faced criminal cases and harassment due to one provision in the Electronic Transaction Act for their news,” current FNJ president, Govinda Acharya, pointed out.

The FNJ has recorded 58 instances of press freedom violations since May of last year, including violent attacks, threats and arrests. 

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