Wednesday Jul 24, 2024
Wednesday Jul 24, 2024

Full press freedom to be in media law, policy: Minister Sharma

2023 Jun 26, 7:55,
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Minister for Communications and Information Technology Rekha Sharma vowed that the media and communications related laws and policies would have full press freedom. Necessary laws and policies would be formulated while some reviewed to make the mass communications sector dignified, accountable and credible, she added.

Minister Sharma said it in the House of Representatives meeting on Sunday while responding to the queries raised by the lawmakers in relation to the budget allocation under the ministry she is heading. She informed me that a bill on public service broadcasting was presented in the parliament.

According to her, the mass communications bill, Nepal Media Council bill, and bill on National Mass Communications Training Academy were being drafted. Efforts were on to prepare National Broadcasting Policy, Minister Sharma said, further informing that social media would be made well-managed. The ministry was allocated a total budget of Rs 8.71 billion for essential spending including administrative works and policy and law formulation.

The allocation to the ministry accounts for 0.5 percent of the total budget. Among which, 94 percent goes to day-to-day compulsory spending. Moreover, the Information Minister reiterated government commitment that good governance and electronic governance would be promoted and integrity maintained. She informed the lawmakers that there were 242 televisions and 928 FM radios operating in the country, while, so far, the country has recorded the registration of 7,979 newspapers and 3,990 online media.

Also the spokesperson of the government, Sharma said PSB bill was in the parliament for merging Radio Nepal and Nepal Television so that citizen's access to media would increase further and press freedom and accountability bolster.

The Advertisement Board was working actively to not allow the advertisement of tobacco production and distribution which are injurious to human health. Emphasis was laid on the enforcement of journalists' code of conduct and initiatives begun to make timely corrections on proportional distribution of advertisement to the media as per Advertisement Act.

Other issues the Minister informed the parliament were government works on addressing the concept of gender-responsive budget, capacity building of women journalists, women's participation in information technology, women empowerment and inclusive development.

RSS role significant Minister Sharma appreciated the role played by the Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) on disseminating factual and credible information, thereby contributing hugely to Nepali journalism.

An infographics was published by the ministry on the occasion of the 15th Republic Day this year.

The government has accorded priority to citizen's access to IT, so broadband internet service was available in all local levels. Now, all wards would be provided quality internet service.

As per information she shared, currently, 4,390 health centres and 5,318 community schools had installed broadband internet. This drive would be continued.

Uniformity among government websites, effectiveness of integrated website management, reduction of cyber threats, launch of web monitoring system, ongoing process of integrated national cyber security policy by consulting cyber security experts, effective running of cyber security operation, formulation of policy on electronic data protection, upgrading and monitoring of government data were other issues the Minister addressed during the meeting.

Moreover, her address featured capacity building of IT employees, cooperation with universities to produce a capable IT workforce, efforts to make effective postal service, security printing, and promotion of innovative technology to contribute to national ambition of prosperity.


Rekha Sharma media communications freedom policies House of Representatives Parliament broadcasting communications bill Nepal Media Council Bill
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