KATHMANDU, May 3: The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), the umbrella organization of journalists throughout the country, held a morning procession Thursday to mark the World Press Freedom (WPF) Day.
The procession comprising journalists and civil society organizations started from Bhrikutimandap and went around different parts of downtown Kathmandu before converging into a rally at the same place.
FNJ office-holders, former presidents and functionaries, media persons from different media houses and the civil society leaders participated in the rally.
Addressing the rally, FNJ President Shiva Gaunle said that media freedom and the freedom of expression were under threat even at present.
General Secretary Om Sharma stressed that the new constitution should incorporate all the freedoms provided by the Interim Constitution.
According to the FNJ, 33 media persons have been killed while three others are still unaccounted for over the last 11 years in Nepal.
Senior journos awarded with Press Fighter award
Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) has honored three senior journalists with Press Freedom Fighter Award on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day-2012 as in past years.
This year senior journalists, Devendra Gautam, Dil Sahani and Baidhyanath Jha were felicitated with the award in recognition of their longstanding contribution to journalism sector.
Likewise, Birgunj-based journalist Jagadish Sharma was provided with the Krishna Prasad Bhattarai Memorial Award carrying a purse of Rs. 100,000.
Similarly, the Uma Singh Journalism Award bagging Rs 10,000 in cash was handed over to Umesh Saha while the Nepal-US Journalists Association Award bagging Rs. 100,000 was presented to Hetauda-based journalist Pratap Bista for his contribution to journalism in rural area.
At a function organized here on Thursday by FNJ, Education Minister and UCPN (Maoist) Spokesperson Dinanath Sharma, Nepali Congress (NC) leader Arjun Narsinng KC, CPN-UML leader Pradeep Gyawali and Constitutional Committee (CC) Chairperson Nilambar Acharya jointly handed over the awards.
On the occasion, participating speakers said democracy could not be imagined without freedom of press while calling for the need of constitutionally guaranteeing full press freedom.
UCPN (Maoist) Spokesperson Sharma said all types of civic freedoms including press freedom should be guaranteed in the new constitution.
NC leader Arjun Narsingh KC said media should play crucial role to maintain ethnic harmony and national unity, underlining urgency of guaranteeing complete press freedom as it is the foundation of democracy.
UML leader Gyawali said though the state has widened the scope of freedom of press and of expression, the constitution ensuring press freedom should be promulgated to enable environment for the physical and professional safety of journalists.
CC Chairperson Acharya called on the state to be sensitive towards implementing press freedom arrangements as merely specifying provisions in the statute do not make sense.
Among various speakers, FNJ Chairperson Shiva Gaunle and former Chairperson Dharmendra Jha drew attention of stakeholders towards ensuring strong provisions of press freedom in new constitution.