The meeting of Press Council Nepal Board held today dated 2076/12/23 (5 April 2020) appreciated the role of Nepalese journalists and mass media during this tough time of Novel Corona Virus (Covid 19) Outbreak and analyzed the pain they have been bearing after the government’s step of Lock Down to prevent it from spreading. Furthermore, appealing the entire journalists and mass media to disseminate only the reliable, objective, balanced, modest and factual news-items, the meeting has made following decisions:
1. The Council Family highly appreciates the medias throughout the country for their active role in disseminating the awareness raising information contents, day and night, despite the crisis and high risk during the tough time where the nation itself has been in a lockdown state to contain the infection and spread of Novel Corana Virus (Covid 19). It would like to thank all the media persons who have been working in the frontline, the editors and media owners who have been running the media even during this difficult time. Moreover, it would like to appeal all journalists and media persons to stay safe and to follow the Journalist Code of Conducts while disseminating the awareness raising contents for containing the corona virus.
2. As per Press Council Act, 2048 Section 7 (A) and (C) the Council has its function, duty and power to provide suggestions to Government of Nepal for the development of journalism and, hence, it is decided to submit following suggestions to the government, considering the painful current situation:
a) To contain the corona virus infection, all types of mass media need to get collaboration and budget from Ministry of Health, Federal, Provincial and Local Government for disseminating the awareness raising information and for that, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology should do the coordination
b) Discount on electricity, telephone, internet and other communication equipment and grant support should be managed for the media that are at risk
c) During lockdown period, the public transportation gets closed and it is very difficult for the getting the distribution, editing and management groups together at a place and the technicians in the press could not come to the job. Hence, for the newspapers whose publication has been halted, a policy decision should be made for providing them the payment of the public welfare advertisement and including them in the classification process even though they don’t have sufficient newspaper issues during this period
d) To contain the corona infection, models of the public welfare advertisement should be developed in an effective way and make necessary arrangement for disseminating them through mass media.
e) Health safety equipment and protective gear should be provided without delay for the media workers who are disseminating news from the risky zones including Nepal’s International boarders.
3. Having the context that the Constitution of Nepal and other related laws regarding the press ensure the seamless use of press freedom, Council’s attention has been drawn to the recent incident that the developer of Kathmandu Press Online News Portal and the service provider itself entered into the online media and removed the content. Since this goes against the basic principal and spirit of free press, it is decided to urge all concerned authorities to take actions against those involved in the incident after investigating the fact and to make necessary arrangements so that same sort of interference against free press is not repeated in coming days.
4. It has been informed in the meeting that the Chairman has decided to contribute in the Corona Virus Control and Treatment Fund established by Nepal Government with the sum equivalent to 7 days salary of the Council, 5 days salary of Officer level staffs and 3 days salary of all assistant level staffs.
Deputy Administrative Officer