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Human rights group urges Nepal govt to reconsider media-related bills

ANI | Updated: Sep 04, 2019 22:17 IST

Kathmandu [Nepal], Sept 4 (ANI): The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Nepal government to reconsider the tough provisions stated in the bills related to media which were endorsed recently.
In an open letter to Nepali Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, the HRW claimed that the new legislation Media Council Bill would threaten to undermine the right to freedom of expression. It has also urged the leadership of the Himalayan nation to amend the recently revised Penal Code, claiming it criminalises speech on vague grounds.
Along with the Media Council Bill and the Penal Code, the advocacy group has also termed the Information Technology Bill and the Mass Communications Bill to be draconian measures, claiming they contain several loosely defined measures.
"Nepal has a proud tradition of public activism, but if these laws are passed in their current form, they will undermine the freedoms that Nepalis fought so hard to achieve," HRW's South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly said.
"After years of conflict and political instability, the laws being passed under Nepal's new democratic constitution should uphold fundamental freedoms, not set out to curb them," she added.
As per records, at least six journalists have been detained since KP Sharma Oli took charge of the government from February 14 last year.
"Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and the foundation of a democratic society...The Nepali government should protect free speech and ensure that any legal restrictions are proportionate, narrowly defined, and consistent with Nepal's obligations under international law," Ganguly said. (ANI)