NIMJN Talk on Press Freedom Strengthening Press Freedom in Nepal Comments


On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, NIMJN organized a virtual panel discussion on the state of press freedom in all provinces in Nepal. Journalists from seven provinces shared the media landscape in their respective provinces, highlighting the challenges they are facing, and also discussing possible solutions. 

Journalist Parbat Portel from Koshi Province said that journalism is becoming more dependent on advertising and on a handful of businessmen who often have close ties to politicians. Parbat stressed that journalism should be in public favor. “Who are we doing journalism for? Is it for the readers or the businessmen?” he questioned. 

Laxmi Bhandari from Karnali Province discussed various situations female journalists go through in provinces and highlighted the support they need from family and society. 

Society does not understand the struggles and nature of journalism which affects their view towards women journalists and because of this, they are unable to sustain in this sector professionally. When it is late at night due to reporting, the house owners question what kind of job it is that it goes on for this late at night,” Laxmi shared. 

Rakesh Prasad Chaudhary, representing Madhesh Province, spoke about ‘Matribhasha Patrakaarita’- meaning journalism in one’s native language. In this regard, he brought up the points of the need for encouragement and friendly policies to promote journalism in the native language. 

NIMJN Fellow Tanka Dhakal highlighted the importance of local journalism,  incorporating empathy in reporting and focusing on solutions journalism. 

If we can strengthen the local level journalism, maybe our press freedom and independent ethical journalism can be supported,” Tanka said. 

Other journalists in the panel included Ranjita Adhikari (Lumbini Province) from RSS, Bhawani Bhatta (Sudurpaschim Province) from Kantipur Daily, and Dinesh Regmi (Gandaki Province), NIMJN fellow, who was also the moderator for the event.

In the discussion round, journalists Kumbha Raj Rai, Suresh Bidari, and Naresh Gyawali, all raised questions about the dependency of media outlets on their advertisers and sponsors and the need for independent journalism. The event was also live-streamed over Facebook and had a total of 31 participants.

List of common challenges discussed in the program:

  • issue of a timely and livable wage for journalists
  • increasing influence of advertisers and self-censorship in media 
  • the political inclination of journalists, media houses, and editors
  • the safety of journalists while covering certain issues
  • increasing trends of online and cyber attacks toward journalists 
  • lack of investigative or in-depth reporting in media

 Find the live stream link here.