Cabinet decisions must be transparent

The government of K P Sharma Oli on Sunday committed such an action, which, if this is what the government is bent on doing in the days to come as well, will go down in Nepal’s history as the state’s deliberate attempt to stifle free flow of information and deny people and wider media fraternity their right to access vital information. On Sunday, the government refused to reveal the cabinet decisions to media. Such an…

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Not disclosing cabinet decisions a huge setback for freedom of info

Nov 14: The way Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Banskota responded to a crowd of reporters desperately waiting to learn about the decisions of a Cabinet meeting the other day has saddened and angered Nepal’s media fraternity. Reporters from mainstream media were waiting in front of the Prime Minister’s Office until late into the night, braving the cold of the approaching winter. When Communication and Information Minister Banskota appeared, they followed him as…

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Why so secretive?

A Cabinet meeting held on Sunday evening after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli recuperated from his weeklong illness took a number of decisions, including the appointment of three ambassadors to India, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Tham Maya Thapa, Nilambar Acharya, a member of the Nepal-India Eminent Persons’ Group and also a former law minister in the interim cabinet of 1990, was appointed ambassador…

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Treat the press equally

Oct 10, 2018- The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology recently urged all government entities to prioritise state-owned media while distributing information and giving advertisements in order to support and help sustain government publications. The government rationale behind this is to make the state-owned media ‘professional, financially sustainable, self-reliable and competitive’. In modern societies, the availability of information is of paramount importance to make decisions. Much of that information is provided by media outlets like…

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Dry spell

Oct 5, 2018- On September 21, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology announced through a press release that it was going to institute a blanket ban on online pornography. Declaring that pornography is against the values and morals of Nepali society and arguing that such “obscene” material contributes to sexual violence and malpractices, the ministry, citing Article 121 of the Criminal Code, directed internet service providers to block all pornographic websites. There are numerous…

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Towards a digital Nepal

Nepal has embarked on an economic revolution to bring progress and prosperity after a successful transformation into a federal republic. Therefore, there is a great need for information communication and technology (ICT). ICT plays a significant role in education, health, tourism, employment, finance, agriculture and environmental conservation and promotion. The federal government and the private sector are yet to institutionalise and harness the tremendous benefits including competitive advantage of digital technology in terms of sustainable…

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Is porn to be blamed?

For the past few weeks, the rise in the number of sexual crimes in Nepal has been drawing international attention, prompting massive protests and shocking millions. Data shows that for the past seven years, 6,627 rape cases were reported in Nepal, out of which  4,589 were rape cases and 2,038 were rape attempts. Estimates show that every year 946 rape cases are reported in Nepal, out of which 78 occur every a month. Day after…

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Does porn abet rape?

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) last week directed the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) to block access to all pornographic contents on the internet and requested internet service providers and internet users to ensure that pornography is not accessed. The MoCIT said that the pornographic contents disturbed social norms and values and increased sexual misconduct and violence in the country. The direction was probably the result of a conclusion of a meeting at…

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Democracy dies when press is not free

The world, it seems, is becoming hostile toward journalists and the free press. In the United States, President Donald Trump persecutes media by dismissing them as “fake news” outlets. In Bangladesh, journalists are often attacked and even murdered by extremist groups for reporting the truth, while the government has failed to provide them security. They are beaten and attacked even for covering local elections. Journalists are often targeted in Pakistan as well. In neighboring India,…

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Rise of digital dystopia

A government official returns home and starts browsing Facebook with the objective of making full use of the internet connection he acquired to stay in touch with his family abroad and make cheaper calls. He has switched completely from TV to Facebook for news and entertainment. He scrolls his wall flooded with chaotic contents—memes, trolls, crazy baby pictures, health tips, manipulated photos of idols and all kinds of visual contents manufactured every minute and personalised…

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