Need for Digital Safety Awareness & Skills for Nepali Journalists

During last two weeks, CMR-Nepal conducted five digital safety sessions to more than 100 journalists (more than half of them journalist women) – at trainings organized by Nepal Forum for Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ), Radio Sagarmatha (the pioneer community radio in the region), Sancharika Samuha (one each at Nagarkot and Bhairahawa) and Center for Investigative Journalists (CIJ) Nepal. Here are three observations from these sessions: a. Nepali journalists are not fully aware of digital security risks; b. Nepali journalists are not practicing basic digital safety techniques; and c. Nepali journalists need awareness and skills of digital safety.Continue reading

Online Media Directives threatens press freedom & FoE online

The Online Media Operation Directives 2016 is a serious threat to press freedom and freedom of expression online in Nepal as the newly approved directives goes against the core principles of democracy and free press.

The Government of Nepal, on June 14, approved the ‘Online Media Operation Directives – 2016 (Nepali PDF link | Unofficial / draft English translation)’ aimed to ‘make online journalism responsible, respected and bring it within the jurisdiction of Press Council of Nepal’. However, the document gives an overall impression that the motive behind the Directives is not to facilitate the development of the online media but rather the authoritarian style control over the online media, and criminalization of freedom of expression online.

Legal Censorship

Clause 21 of the Directives gives the state right to disrupt the website if a) online media is found operated without registration or annual renewal, b) materials deemed unpublishable is published or broadcast, and c) any act deemed against the Directives or applicable laws. Clause 6 also states that if the online media failed to renew annually, the service of the online media shall be obstructed according to the existing laws.

This empowers the state’s agency arbitrary power of censorship. The Department of Information is stated as the agency to the register and renew the online media ‘if the documents presented are found satisfactory after necessary verification’. The blocking of website that are deemed to be censored will then be blocked without judicial process on the decision of the Department.

The censorship provision is against the constitutional rights of the citizens; and a violation of the Constitution.Continue reading