14 July 2009

Recommendations of International Media Mission in Nepal on Feb 2009

The following recommendations are based on the assessment carried out by
the members of the International Mission.
5.1 Press freedom violations and safety
1. Police should investigate thoroughly all threats of violence against journalists
and media workers, and the public should be made aware of investigations
and prosecutions to discourage attacks, and ensure an end to
impunity. The International Mission will closely watch progress in the investigations
of the pending cases on the attacks on Birendra Sah, Prakash
Singh Thakuri, Prakash Shrestha, J.P. Joshi and Uma Singh. The Mission
urges all international agencies and governments to raise the issue of
state responsibility during their interactions with the government of Nepal.
2. Press freedom monitoring networks should be strengthened across the
country and specifically in areas outside of Kathmandu. In this regard,
the monitoring system of the FNJ should be maintained and strengthened,
including reporting nationally and internationally on information
gathered, and a central database on press freedom violations should be
established and maintained.
3. Safety training should be provided through existing training organizations
and relevant international organizations. Such training should be
country-specific and accessible to all journalists and media workers in the
4. Media houses should provide basic safety equipment to journalists when
5. Life and health insurance should be provided to journalists, photographers,
camerapersons and media workers, and for their equipment.
6. Support mechanisms to assist threatened journalists and their families
should be strengthened and institutionalised.
7. Safe houses, hotlines, reactive missions and other safety related activities
should be strengthened/ undertaken as needed.
8. Local authorities, judiciary and police should be trained on press freedoms
and freedom on information issues.
9. Linkages between human rights defenders, peace-process mediators, FNJ
and other national media bodies should be strengthened.
10. Political parties should develop positions and concrete measures in support
of media safety and clearly communicate these to their membership
and the public.
11. No journalist should be sacked simply on the basis of his or her political
perspective as long as it does not reflect in the content of his/her work.

5.2 Uma Singh’s murder and pending
1. The International Media Mission recommends that the government invite
competent external parties such as the OHCHR, FNJ, and other NGOs to
assist the police in carrying out speedy, impartial, thorough and transparent
investigations of all threats, kidnappings, disappearances and murder
of journalists and media workers.
2. That the government demonstrate clearly its commitment to press freedom
and freedom of expression through involvement in the investigations
and by working for the establishment of a committee or sub-committee
within Parliament to study all credible cases in which journalists or media
workers have been threatened, kidnapped, disappeared or murdered.
3. That it cooperate with civil society and competent institutions to reach an
accord on how to provide security to journalists and other media workers,
with special attention to the security of women journalists.
5.3 Impunity and investigations into
the attacks of journalists
1. The International Media Mission urges the UN OHCHR to investigate the murder
of Uma Singh as circumstantial evidence suggests she may have been
killed for her role as journalist (a human rights defender) and not over a pending
property dispute as Nepali authorities have been presenting the case.
2. The state is responsible for investigating all the pending cases of murder
and disappearance of journalists. Only thorough investigations and punishing
those guilty can the state put a stop to attack on the media and
3. The growing impunity for those responsible for attacking journalists must
stop immediately. This can be attained by thoroughly investigating and
punishing those responsible for attacks on Birendra Sah, Prakash Singh
Thakuri, Prakash Shrestha, J.P. Joshi and Uma Singh. The Mission also
recommends that the government initiate investigations and actions
against the murderers of Dekendra Thapa.
4. The mission also demands impartial investigations into the murders of all
journalists killed before 2006 and punishing those who were responsible.
5. The attacks on journalists and media companies must end immediately.
Violence against journalists and the media cannot be justified for any reason
in a law-abiding society. Ending violence against the media would
be Nepal’s first step towards democratisation because there can be no
democracy without a free media and vice-versa.
5.4 Media policy and legal reform
1. An inclusive consultative process with the media community, civil society
and other stakeholders should be undertaken to ensure broad and inclusive
discussion on media policy reform and to identify action areas.
2. The new constitution should ensure press freedom and freedom of expression,
and guarantee the independence of media regulatory bodies.
3. Authorities should consider the provision of a regular grant from the state
to the media, either directly in terms of finances or indirectly through tax
relief in accordance with the spirit of the UNESCO ‘Florence Treaty’ – the
Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials;
any such system of support, however, should be based on equitable,
objective criteria applied in a non-discriminatory fashion.
4. The Ministry of Information and Communication should either close or
privatise all state-run media, or turn them into public service media.
5. Support should be provided to national and local authorities to train public
officials on the implementation of new media legislation.
6. Public awareness should be developed regarding the new media and right
to information legislation and voluntary media accountability systems
and capacity building should be provided to the media community and
civil society to monitor implementation of the new laws.
7. The participation of experts should be ensured in all activities relating to
media law and policy reform; despite many of the positive steps Nepal has
made, standards still fall short of international standards.
8. The distribution of public advertisement should be allocated through a
fair and transparent mechanism to both print and broadcasting media.
9. The FNJ legal desk should be strengthened for responding to protection
needs of journalists and media workers. The legal desk will assist in ensuring
enforcement of laws related to the media.
5.5 Broadcast media
1. State radio and TV should be placed under the governance of an adequately
financed independent body, the membership of which should reflect
the diversity of Nepali society.
2. The mandate of public service broadcasters should be to serve the needs
of all groups in society, especially those not being adequately served by
commercial and community broadcasters.
3. The licensing process should be designed to promote diversity in the
broadcasting sector.
4. Frequencies are a public resource and political parties should not control
broadcasting stations. A study should be carried out to assess the ownership
of broadcasting stations.
5. All regulation of broadcasting should be undertaken by an independent
regulatory body.
6. Support should be made available for existing broadcast media, particularly
in the districts, for addressing infrastructure problems and working
towards financial sustainability in the post-donor environment.
5.6 Print media
1. Taxes on newsprint and replacement parts should be lowered and postal
rates reduced.
2. Registration requirements for print media should be removed.
3. Rules on cross-ownership and concentration of ownership should be set.
4. The Audit Bureau of Circulation should be established and supported to
undertake its duties.
5.7 Unions and associations
1. Trade unions should negotiate (not resort to violence) for fair and reasonable
working conditions and employers should seek to implement the
amended Working Journalists Act. Media employers should implement
fair and decent working conditions, which also reflect equal access to recruitment,
work opportunities and promotion for all groups.
2. Support should be provided for strengthening associations, unions and
media organizations at the national and district levels, including for the
secretariats and performance of core-functions (with specific reference to
the FNJ).
3. Gender awareness and mainstreaming should be promoted among media
associations and institutions. Media employers should ensure that
women and members of minority groups are provided equal opportunities
for employment, pay, professional assignments and promotion.
4. The minimum wages and other recommendations made by the committee
for fixing minimum wage should be implemented and should gradually
be extended to all media, irrespective of type and size of investment.
5.8 District media
1. Assistance should be provided for improving communications for media
workers and district media outlets (including telephone, internet, etc.)
2. Assistance should be provided for the training of journalists from marginalized
groups to ensure that they receive the same professional development
opportunities as other journalists, and that they can be properly
represented in the national media.
3. Access to longer-term training opportunities should be provided in basic
journalism skills, as well as specialized areas such as graphic design and
business management.
4. Training of Trainers (TOT) should be undertaken for building a team of
district-based media trainers.
5. Access to modern equipment, including offset printing presses and field
reporting equipment, should be made available through appropriate
6. Options to facilitate improved circulation of the print media should be

Source: http://www.i-m-s.dk/files/publications/1453%20Nepal.web.pdf

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