HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Participants at an interaction on freedom of expression and Internet use have urged the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) to promote the use of the Internet as a tool of freedom of expression.
At a programme of the FNJ’s Digital Media Committee (DMC) and Nepal chapter of the Internet Society, as many as 40 participants — online journalists, bloggers and representatives of media development agencies —agreed on the need for proper use of the Internet while exercising the freedom of expression. Some of them argued that the FNJ, the umbrella organisation of the country’s mediapersons, should launch a capacity-building campaign to train journalists on the proper use of the Internet.
Advocate Baburam Aryal said the freedom of expression through Internet-based medium is a constitutional right enshrined in the United Nations resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights.
Shedding light on legal aspects of the use and abuse of the Internet, he said the Internet and social media should be used ethically and without violating others’ rights.
FNJ General Secretary Om Sharma said the FNJ has been raising its voice against the government intent to regulate Internet use. “But we should be honest and follow the norms of journalism,” he added, hailing the online media as a powerful tool. “The ones, who dislike the changes or are afraid of them, are against using the Internet” as a media tool.
The DMC is preparing the ‘principle document’ for FNJ’s online journalism policy by incorporating issues related to the Internet as a free-flowing medium to exercise the freedom of expression, filtering and blocking of websites and intermediary liability of the content posted online.
“With the advent of the Internet and its growing use in journalism, new stakeholders like Internet Service Providers have come to the fore,” Ujjwal Acharya, who heads the DMC, said. “As they are equally important in protecting freedom of expression, we will consult ISPs and FNJ members before submitting the policy on online journalism to the FNJ executive committee.”