The whole world is observing the World Press Freedom Day 2019 on May 03, 2019 under the theme ‘Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation’.
Under the theme, #WPFD2019 lays a special focus on challenges faced by media in elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.
Along with the world nations, Nepal also observed the World Press Freedom Day 2019 on a grand scale with wide range of rallies, programs across the country.
“On the occasion of World Press Freedom day, the UN System in Nepal wishes to remind His Majesty’s Government of its obligations to the people of Nepal as a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” UN Nepal said in a statement to the Government of Nepal on the World Press Freedom Day 2019.
UNESCO Nepal observed the #WPFD2019 extending its continuous support for freedom of expression and safety of journalists. “The Office acts as a promoter of dialogue among media professionals and provides advice to media professionals, institutions and local authorities in Nepal to enhance the development of freedom of expression,” says UNESCO Nepal.
The Office has been working towards this end, and stands for “Promoting freedom of expression and freedom of the press through the celebrations of the World Press Freedom Day, held annually on May 3, 2019”.
Marking the World Press Freedom Day 2019, renowned human rights body Amnesty International extended its commitment and support to journalists and other media persons as human rights defenders. The organization called for a special gathering of activists and its Nepali supporters at Shanti Batika, Ratnapark, Kathmandu. The event also saw leading human rights activists such as Charan Kumar Prasai and Subodh Pyakure. Journalists from local media houses were also present on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, Amnesty International Nepal’s Chairperson Rajan Prasad Kuikel lauded Nepali journalists for their continuous efforts in defending public interest and Nepali public rights.
On account of the #WPFD2019, a special rally was held in Kathmandu. The rally led by the Federation of Nepali Journalists took place from Babarmahal to New Baneshwar. The gathering was aimed at voicing its concerns on demonstrations, strikes and rallies that often take place in Kathmandu, motivated by ethnic or political matters and other forms of violence.
The World Press Freedom 2019 is of high significance for Nepal considering various journalists’ killings, violation of human rights and various other issues hurting the freedom of expression and public rights in the country in the recent times.
According to UN, there has been consistent intimidation of journalists across the country with many journalists losing their jobs. Arrests and nation-wide harassment of journalists hurt the freedom of expression in Nepal.
“The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal (1990) and the Press and Publication Act (1991) have actively safeguarded freedoms of opinion and expression, press freedom, and the right to information. Even after the lifting of the State of Emergency, freedom of expression remains suspended with the media continuing to face either direct or indirect censorship,” says UN.
According to an US-based agency called Freedom House, Nepal stands 106th in global rankings for press freedom. While Sweden, Finland, and Norway were found to be the best in terms of press freedom, Syria holds a least ranking.
Speaking on the occasion of #WPFD2019, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Anup Raj Sharma said there are many press-related issues across the country despite constitution amendments and long-awaited elections.
In this regard, NHRC extended its commitment to safeguard press freedom and human rights.
With an aim to protect the Freedom of expression and freedom of the press as basic human rights, the United Nations General Assembly, on May 03, 1993, commemorated the annual World Press Freedom Day.
Here is the UN General Secretary Full Address on World Press Freedom Day 2019
In line with the world nations, UN Nepal has been observing the annual day with its continuing commitment to protect the principles of press freedom and freedoms of expression.
Nepali Sansar wishes Nepal journalism community the ‘World Press Freedom Day 2019’.