Nepal celebrated World Press Freedom Day
"Freedom of information and freedom of expression are indispensable for democratic governance in Nepal," declared the participants of the events celebrating World Press Freedom Day 2010 in Kathmandu on 18 May and in Biratnagar and Nepalgunj on 20 May.
The events that all came under the motto "Dialogue on Freedom of Information: The Right to Know" were initiated by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and organized in close cooperation with OHCHR Nepal, the Nepal Press Institute (NPI), the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), the National Information Commission of Nepal and other media organizations.
"The right to know is central for upholding other basic rights, for furthering transparency, justice and development. Hand-in-hand with the complementary notion of freedom of expression, it underpins democracy," declared UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, in her message for World Press Freedom Day 2010.
"Nepal is presently in a historic transformation process. Tensions are sometimes high and there are still many challenges to human rights, governance, development and durable peace. In this situation, journalists and information managers play a central role to contribute to the peace process through accuracy and independence of reporting, and transparency and professionalism in access to information," said Axel Plathe, UNESCO Representative to Nepal, during the conference in Kathmandu.
Also addressing the event in Kathmandu, Richard Bennett, OHCHR Representative to Nepal, stressed that threats and restrictions are a benchmark for the human rights situation in the country as a whole. "I urge the government - and every political party - to take all steps necessary to protect and promote the rights of journalists to collect and disseminate information freely and without threat or fear," he declared.
Participants in the events in Kathmandu, Biratnagar and Nepalgunj highlighted the importance of freedom of information as a tool for empowerment, its role to enable protection and achievement of other rights and its contribution to transparency, accountability and the fight against corruption.
Participants also stressed the importance of access to reliable information, the provision of accurate and unbiased information to citizens and the role of media as a platform for public debate and interaction between civil society and policy-makers.
During all three events, participants deplored the security situation of journalists in the country and the culture of impunity remembering the journalists who were murdered in the name of free press in the region.
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