Govt flayed for seeking clarification from journo Dahal
KATHMANDU, Jan 1: Media bodies affiliated to the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML have flayed the government´s move to seek clarification with journalist Pramod Dahal of Radio Nepal over the content aired in a program called Antar Sambad on Monday morning.
Issuing separate press statements, NC-affiliated Nepal Press Union (NPU) and UML-affiliated Press Chautari Nepal (PCN) have condemned the government move, terming it as an attempt to suppress press freedom. They have said it was unbecoming of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to seek clarification over a personal statement or remarks by an individual.
NC leader Manmohan Bhattarai in the live program aired on Monday morning had labeled the prime minister “an Indian agent”. Upon instructions from the prime minister, Minister of Information and Communications Raj Kishor Yadav had directed Secretary Surya Silwal to seek clarifications from journalist Dahal and executive director of Radio Nepal Suresh Karki. Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal had also separately sought clarification from journalist Dahal.
A press statement issued by NPU said the move indicated that the government had turned totalitarian and autocratic. NPU has also asked all journalists and media fraternity to stand united against the government´s move.
Likewise, UML-affiliated PCN has denounced the government´s move. “Radio Nepal is not the prime minister´s private property, but an asset of the entire country. The government´s move proves that the current government wants to suppress press freedom,” said the statement.
Issuing a separate press statement, Democratic Media Pvt Limited has also denounced the government´s move. Arguing that the move violates press freedom and freedom of expression, the media body has reminded the government that the media cannot be suppressed from disseminating information of public interest.