KATHMANDU, May 4: Laws relating to freedom of expression (FoE) in Nepal are not well-defined and specific, leaving those inclined to squelch free speech with enough room to do so, according to experts.
Such view was expressed by media professionals, media educators and people with the knowledge of laws related FoE at a program organized jointly by UNESCO Kathmandu Office and Press Council Nepal in Kathmandu on Saturday.
The program organized to mark World Press Freedom Day, which falls on May 3, was held under the theme “Efficient Implementation of Freedom of Expression Laws in Nepal.
” Director General of Department of Information Laxmi Bilas Koirala said that FoE is fundamental to developing personality of individuals and free media must play the role of holding the government to account and show it the right path.
He, however, noted that there is no reason to feel satisfied with the growth in the number of Nepali media as their quality and sustainability remain questionable.
Ram Krishna Timalsina of National Law College said different countries have different laws regarding FoE, but that courts around the world were gradually moving toward using the same legal language to define the term.
He said no single article in the constitution fully covers the right to FoE, therefore, several provisions must be considered as a package for ensuring the right to free speech and expression.
Meanwhile, most participants were of the view that laws related to FoE require extensive debate and review so that they can match international convention and