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Artists, poets protest against Media Council Bill to express solidarity with Nepali journalists


Press Trust of India Kathmandu
Dozens of artists and poets on Wednesday staged a protest against the proposed Media Council Bill to express solidarity with the Nepali journalists and presented their satirical views against the legislation that curtails press freedom.
Nepal government has proposed the new media bill aimed at imposing a hefty fine of up to Rs 1 million on media outlets found guilty of damaging anyone's reputation, raising alarm among journalists who say the government seeks to punish the press in the name of regulation.
The new Media Council Bill aims to replace the existing Press Council Act and will have more authority to issue hefty fines and give the government more say in the hiring and firing of the council members.
The proposed bill has triggered a series of protests by the Nepali journalists under the banner of Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ).
As part of Wednesday's protest, dozens of artists and poets presented their satirical views against the KP Oli government to show their solidarity with the months long agitation launched by Federation of Nepalese Journalists.
The artists presented cartoons while litterateurs presented satirical poems depicting the situation of Nepalese press under the communist government.
The Nepalese journalists continue their protest and demand the withdrawal of the draconian press laws to ensure press freedom and freedom of expression.
National and international media watchdogs, including the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), have also expressed their serious concerns over some of the provisions in the Bill, saying that the provisions of the bill have wide-ranging implications on the media.
Another media law, Bill on Mass Communications, has proposed Rs 5 million to Rs 10 million in penalties or 10 to 15 years in jail or both for journalists publishing or broadcasting any content undermining national sovereignty, territorial integrity or nationality.
The bill has also proposed confiscation of media equipment if the media outlets and journalists are found publishing offensive contents.

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First Published: Jun 26 2019 | 8:50 PM IST

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