KATHMANDU, Sept. 22: Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has said present government was committed to press freedom and therefore the press needs to be responsible and devote to nation-building.
Addressing 43rd annual general meeting of the Press Council Nepal in the capital on Saturday, PM Bhattarai said as the independent journalism was a pillar of democracy, government was always for the promotion of this sector.
"Although the print, electronic, online journalism and social media as Yutube have expanded the horizon of expression, the language and content used in these are not respectable. Therefore, monitoring on this sector was essential. Both negative and positive aspects of information and technology should be assessed," he stressed.
However, he said government was never hostile to press and would not be in future too.
Similarly, PM Bhattarai pointed out the need of work area of the Press Council as per the changed context.
The PM lauded the role of media to materialize government plan on zero-tolerance on corruption. The government has rightly evaluated the role media played during the people´s movement, he claimed.
According to the PM, the public welfare advertisements would be proportionally distributed.
The media was in need of becoming a voice of the voiceless, he suggested.
A book penned by journalist Binod Dhungel about the history of Press Council was released by the PM on the occasion.
Similarly, journalist Bishwo Bandhu Bhandari was honoured with Press Council Gopal Das Journalism Award. The award carries the purse of Rs 100,000.
Minister for Information and Communications, Raj Kishor Yadav, said journalists themselves should be responsible to make their profession respectable.
The regulatory body Press Council Nepal was in need of autonomy, he said, adding that the Ministry was doing homework to solve the problems of journalism sector.
On the occasion, Minister Yadav announced government scholarship for 30 journalism students from the backward and marginalized communities pursuing higher education in the Tribhuvan University and other academic institutes.
The government is planning to provide financial supports to those who have involved in journalism for the past 25 years in recognition to their contributions in the development and promotion of Nepali journalism, informed Minister Yadav.
Stating that role of media workers and communication sectors was significant in building new Nepal, he said the Ministry was always ready to extend positive support and cooperation to them.
On the occasion, he unveiled the 37th report of the Press Council Nepal.
Similarly, Chief Secretary Leelamani Poudel stressed that investment in media should be made transparent and the Council should be more active for the implementation of the journalists´ code of conduct in letter and the spirit. "I am not convinced that problems in media will be resolved with the proportional distribution of public welfare advertisements", he said.
Likewise, Print Media National Network´s Chairman Dev Prakash Tripathi demanded Rs.10,000 government allowance to those journalists spending 30 years in journalism.
General Secretary of Federation of Nepali Journalists Om Sharma urged one and all to promote fair journalism and stressed that the State should think about small media houses reeling under crisis.
Talking about the main portion of the report, Council member secretary Laxmi Belas Koirala said out of 33 petitions filed at the Council this year, five have been settled.