International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) congratulates its affiliatethe Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) on the 57th
anniversary of its Establishment Day, on March 29.
formed as the Nepal Journalists’ Association (NJA) on March 29,1956 under the chairmanship of journalist and political
Prasad Bhattarai, (who later became Nepal’s first Prime Minister), it became
the Federation of Nepali Journalists in 1995.
The FNJ represents over 8,000 media personnel working
in all areas of print, electronic and online media across Nepal. The FNJ works to
promote and protect freedom of the press and expression and has been instrumental in
campaigning for the promulgation of Nepal’s new Constitution by its May
deadline this year.
The 57th anniversary was marked with the slogan “Peace and Constitution before May 27”. On March
29 the FNJ Secretariat organised a rally under this banner. FNJ President Shiva
Gaule addressed the rally and highlighted the FNJ’s continuously work for press
freedom, the right to information, and the protection of journalists’ rights. Nepal
is currently governed under the 2007 Interim Constitution.
Interim document has been criticised as not fully meeting internationally recognised
standards of freedom of expression. A new Constitution was
to be promulgated by May 28, 2011, but this deadline was not met. Following a number
of extensions, the new constitution is to be settled by May 27, this year.
to the rally, President Gaule said journalists would be obligated to take to
the streets if a new constitution, guaranteeing press freedom and civil rights
was not ready by its May deadline.
An International Media Mission, including
the IFJ, the FNJ, and other international media freedom organisations met in
Nepal between 23-27 February, and found that the constitutional draft proposes freedom of expression
guarantees weaker than those found in the 1990 Constitution, in particular, owing
to the vague language used to describe the permissible restrictions to these
rights, which could be abused to unduly limit them.
On the anniversary of the FNJ’s establishment, IFJ
Director Jacqueline Park urged that a new Constitution “must include the
necessary provisions to allow a free and independent press to thrive”.
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