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Journalists covering Parliament object to media regulation draft

Apr 30. 2017
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By The Nation

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Reporters covering Parliament on Sunday urged the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) to withdraw a draft media regulation bill from consideration over concerns that the bill would gived authorities undue influence over media affairs.

“It is unacceptable to let the state authority take part in benefiting or punishing mass media workers and general social media users as stipulated in the bill draft,” the reporters said in a statement.

They referred to a newly introduced licensing regulation included in the draft, which would authorise a media council, including ministerial permanent secretaries, to manage the licences of all media professionals.

Journalists and members of the general public have raised concerns that such a mechanism would give authorities undue control over the media, which should remain independent given their role to scrutinise authorities.

The reporters also called on the NRSA to reconsider the draft and solicit opinions not only from representatives of media organisations but also working journalists in the field.

“Any law related to the media should be designed to protect rights and freedom of the media and to create a mechanism to maintain freedom of press on the basis of the public interest,” the statement read.

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