KATHMANDU: Media workers saw a bit positive atmosphere this year as compared to the previous one. However, telling it a satisfactory situation for the media workers to carry out their jobs is not fair as the incidents of press freedom violation - threats, attacks, misbehaviour and obstruction did not see any significant reduction. It shows the security reasons- both on personal and social grounds- hindered the media persons to devote to the free and fair journalism.
A report based on media monitoring carried out by Freedom Forum in the year 2067 Bikram Sambat (BS) states that lack of professional and personal safety to the media persons, political interference and inclination and slack rule of law are found to be some of the important factors of self-censorship in Nepal.
"Growing life-threats, attacks and intimidations from the state (security persons, government employees), political parties, underground outfits and others were indelible in journalists' psyche which obviously are the deterring factors for free, fair and meticulous investigation, reporting and publication- the entire journalism. During the year of 2067 BS, a total of 85 incidents of press freedom violations occurred in the name of covering and not covering the news according to the media monitoring by Freedom Forum.
Over the period, Chairperson of Community Radio Tulsipur, Devi Prasad Dhital (Hemraj), 45, was gunned down in broad daylight. The number of anti-press incidents including a murder unveils the reality that crime against media has not decreased and the journalists are still working under threat and attack. The number of attacks during the 2067 BS is 24 while death threats 32, misbehaviour 10, injury 3, vandalism 3, loot 2, intimidation 2 and murder 1.
This year too, Nepali media did not see any significant policy reform by the government nor brought any measures to punish the perpetrators of press freedom thereby instilling impunity. Moreover, in spite of the spurt of media in the country, the credibility of reporting/news failed not to be questioned.
"Government's apathy to create congenial atmosphere for journalists to work in, no policy reforms in media, unchecked impunity, and the self-censorship are some of the factors that painted Nepal's media bleak," Freedom Forum Chairman Tara Nath Dahal said.