Press freedom concerns have sparked a major controversy in Nepal. Nepal has made certain amendments to its criminal code under which a person can be imprisoned for sharing confidential information. The Media has expressed severe concerns over the fact that these changes to the criminal code can undermine the freedom of the press in Nepal.
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Media fears that the changes in the criminal code could be subject to misuse by the authorities to silence critics. Under the changes in the criminal code on Friday the sharing of information which is deemed confidential by the authorities be a criminal offence in Nepal. In recent times the KP Sharma Oli government in Nepal has come under heavy castigation by various quarters especially the media. Journalists in Nepal strongly feel that the new law being introduced in the criminal code will be a direct and brutal attack on the freedom of the press.
President of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, Govind Acharya stated that these general laws will be subject to being misused to mute the journalists and at the same will discourage investigative journalism in Nepal.
Under the new law, anyone who publishes private information procures pictures or records audio will be liable to a criminal trial. Nepal stands at a dismal 106 rank in the Press Freedom Index and this new law can push it further down in the press freedom rankings. Journalists found guilty of being in violation of this law will be jailed for three years or fined or both. Journalists took to Twitter and expressed a massive outrage against the communist regime in Nepal which now seems to be taking on the press freedom in Nepal.
The Asian country is drawing a lot of flak from journalists all over about the draconian law. Suppression of media is one of the first signs of an undermined democracy and Nepal seems to be giving up on its democratic principles as suggested by these laws which are meant to harass and suppress the press in Nepal.
This outrage could stir larger protests against the government as the movement may catch a larger impetus. Freedom of the press is one of the salient features of a democracy and the communist regime in Nepal seems to be snatching that away from the nation.