NEPAL MEDIA STATUS REPORT
Mahendra Bista, President, FNJ
Ujjwal Acharya, IFJ Asia Pacific
Int’l Media Mission to Nepal
19 – 23 March, 2015
NEPAL: Basic Facts
Nepal is a multicultural & multilingual society.
• Total Population: 26.5 million
• Female Population: 51.5 per cent
• No of Caste / Ethnic Group: 125
• No of Language (Mother Tongue): 123
• No of Religion: 10 (XX per cent Hindu)
• Literacy Rate: 65.9 per cent
Political Update I
• First Constituent Assembly dissolved on May 28, 2012
• Election of Constituent Assembly II (November 19, 2013)
under Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi-led government
• Nepal Congress emerged largest party (196 seats / 601)
followed by CPN-UML (175) and UCPN – Maoist (80)
• NC-UML coalition government headed by NC President
Sushil Koirala; U Maoist & Madheshi alliance in opposition
• The CA II has already missed self-declared deadline of
January 22, 2015 for the new constitution
Political Update II
• Currently, there’s clear demarcation between ruling and
opposition alliance on the contents of new constitution
• Four issues of contention:
• Governance System (Direct Elected Executive Head
OR Parliamentary system)
• Electoral System (FPTP only OR FPTP + Propositional)
• Judiciary (Constitutional Court)
• Federal Structure (Number, Name and Boundary of the
Media in Nepal
Newspaper 813 Regularly Published
Radio 610 Licenses
360 in Regular Broadcast
Television 81 Licenses
Online Site 152 Voluntarily Listed at PCN
News Agency National News Agency
40 – 50 Production Houses
Minimum Wage Rs. 10,008 ( ~ USD 100) / month
PCN / MoIC / FNJ
Journalists in Nepal
Total Journalists 10,077
Female Journalists 1,632 (16.2 per cent)
Eastern Region 1,444 (14.3 per cent)
Central Region 1,587 (15.7 per cent)
Kathmandu Valley 3,567 (35.4 per cent)
Western Region 1,402 (13.9 per cent)
Mid-Western Region 1,411 (14 per cent)
Far-Western Region 666 (6.6 per cent)
Press Freedom Violations
Incident May 2012 -
May 2013 –
May 2014 –
Murder / Disappearance 3 1 1*
Attack on journalist 32 11 13
Manhandling 65 9 1
Threat 29 6 14
Closure of Media 8 1
Obstacles on free flow of info 10 6 8
Displacement from Job 22 1 1
Attack / threat on media 14 1 4
Vehicles vandalized 42 2 2
Total 225 44 44
* Under Investigation # Not final data
Media: Notable Developments
• Conviction on the case of torture and murder of Dekendra
Thapa despite PM’s objections on December 2014.
• Conviction on Yadav Paudel’s murder on July, 2014.
• Draft of new Media Policy is on public consultation.
• Nepal Television & Radio Nepal (2 of 4 state media) are in
process of becoming Public Service Broadcasting (PSB).
• Change in FNJ leadership in May, 2014.
• Appointment of Commissioners at the Nat’l Information
Current Issues I
1. Press Freedom in new Constitution
• CA II has taken ownership of agreements and works of
CA I and in the draft prepared, the Press Freedom and
Freedom of Expression has restrictive measures which
are vague and with wide scope for interpretation.
• The restrictive clauses / limitations require thorough
review for making it clear, concise and concrete.
Current Issues II
2. Contempt of Court Bill
• On June 9, 2014, the Ministry of Law, Justice, Constituent
Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs moved a Contempt of
Court bill in the Parliament.
• The Bill proposes wide definition of Contempt of Court,
discretionary powers for judges to initiate a case with the
punishment ranging from fine up to Rs. 10,000 (USD 100)
or a jail-term up to a year or both.
Current Issues III
2. Contempt of Court Bill (contd.)
• After strong protests from FNJ, Nepal Bar Association,
media & civil society, the Bill was opened for public
debate for the first time in Nepal’s parliamentary system.
• FNJ, Bar & Parliament Secretariat jointly organized 5
consultation seminars (Kathmandu, Dhangadi, Nepalgunj,
Biratnagar & Pokhara).
• FNJ Expert Team is in process of finalizing report to be
submitted to Parliament Secretariat before next session.
Current Issues IV
3. Implementation of Working Journalists Act 1993
• Hasn’t been implemented completely, even in
appointment, minimum wage, and timely payment. State
and media houses seem ignoring labor issues.
• FNJ initiates series of discussion with management of
private and state media houses for its implementation.
• FNJ delegations met Prime Minister and Minister of
Information & Communication to resolve the problem.
Current Issues V
3. Implementation of WJA 1993 (contd.)
• On written complaint of FNJ, the Development Committee
of the Legislative Parliament held a discussion with
Minister for Information and Communication, government
officials, state agencies, FNJ and other stakeholders on
Working Journalists Act’s implementation.
• The Committee directed the government to take action
against media houses failing to implement it and provide
situation report within 3 months.
Current Issues VI
• Journalists are compelled to practice self-censorship
widely in national and local level.
• The major reasons for self-censorship are
• Attacks / threats on journalists and media
• Pressure from political groups
• Criminal gangs
• Business sector / advertisers
• Media management
• Wage issues, etc.
Current Issues VII
5. Physical / Professional Safety
• Attacks on journalist remain a major issue aggravated by
the impunity in crimes against journalists.
• Attacks on journalists during demonstrations & strikes.
• Lack of rule of law during transitional political period.
• Lack of professional capacity of journalists / ethical
standard of media contents.
• Lack of professional safety due to non-implementation of
Working Journalists Act 1993.
• Increasing number of journalist deaths in accidents.
Seven Priorities of FNJ Leadership I
1. Physical & Professional Safety of Journalists
2. Press Freedom & Freedom of Expression
3. Capacity Building of Journalists
• Establishment of the National Institute of Mass
Communication at FNJ Central Secretariat building with
• FNJ proposed it in a detailed outline to government
• Ministry for Information and Communication formed a
team to further workout on modality & legal framework
• Review of Code of Journalistic Ethics
Seven Priorities of FNJ Leadership II
4. Social Security of Journalists
• Insurance of journalists / Conflict Victim Journalist
Welfare Fund / Health treatment subsidy / Gratitude /
5. Media Policy Review w/ Media Agencies’ Restructuring
• Review of media policy for free media environment,
inclusion of radio / TV / online media
• Restructuring of Press Council Nepal, and Minimum
Wage Fixation Committee to make it inclusive,
representative, effective and autonomous
• Establishment of National Media Commission as a self-
Seven Priorities of FNJ Leadership III
6. Pluralism, Diversity and Inclusion in Media
• FNJ has set inclusion in FNJ, all forms of mass media
and media-related state agencies as a priority agenda
• FNJ Executive Committee restructured to make it more
inclusive (women, Dalit, Madheshi, Janajati, minorities,
differently-able and remote area Karnali)
• FNJ lobbying to implement the recommendations of the
High Level Commission for Inclusive Media
• FNJ lobbying to finalize and implement directives on
Seven Priorities of FNJ Leadership III
7. Lobbying in Constitution Making Process
• FNJ is a leading civil society organization and is a
stakeholder of the struggles and institutionalization of
• New constitution for strong democracy and end of the
transitional political period is crucial for press freedom
and fighting impunity on crimes against journalists