Minister applauds UNESCO initiative on safety of journalists, distributes prizes to winners
Chitra Lekha Yadav, Minister for Education has applauded the UNPFN/UNESCO project ‘Increasing the Safety of Journalists’ in a programme organized jointly by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and the Jagaran Media Center on July 9, 2014 in Kathmandu to distribute prizes and certificates to the winners and participants of the nationwide essay, poetry and art competitions. Speaking at the programme, minister Yadav said that democracy can be fully ensured only when the freedom of expression is respected. “Media is one of the powerful organs of democracy. The democracy can only sustain where there is free press and freedom of expression”, she added.
Speaking at the programme, Amita Vohra, Officer-In-Charge of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu said, “Freedom of expression is a crucial element for the development of democracy and free press. It is a universal right to be enjoyed by all. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. Young men and women must be engaged in discussions surrounding freedom of expression; they must be empowered and be aware of the crucial issues that are freedom of expression and the safety of journalists in order to become global citizens, she added.
Laxman Datt Pant, coordinator of the UNPFN/UNESCO project ‘Increasing the Safety of Journalists’ briefly described about the project. He discussed on several aspects of the project and the necessity of the safety of journalists in post conflict. He added that this type of competition amongst the students from different levels and parts of the country will help in building proper awareness amongst the students regarding the issues related to freedom of expression and safety of journalists.
In the essay section, Kapil Dev Bhatta of Ratna Rajya Campus stood first while Sandeep Babu Shrestha of Kathmandu University and Avash Dahal of Pokhara Multiple Campus jointly stood second and the third place was shared by Sanskriti Acharya of National Integrated College and Ravi Kumar Dhungana of St. Lawrence College.
Likewise in the art section Bikash Tamakhu of Kathmandu University, T.B Thapa of Lalit Kala Campus and Bharat Rai of Kathmandu University stood first, second and third respectively. While in the poem section, Sirish Spandan of Universal College was declared the winner while Prakash K.C. of Gurukul Higher Secondary School and Rajan Rujal of Koteshwor Higher Secondary School were placed second and third respectively.
Meanwhile, the winners of all categories were felicitated by Minister Yadav with a certificate along the cash prize of rupees 25000, 15000 and 10000 respectively to the winners, first runner ups and second runner ups.
Speaking at the program, president of the Federation of Nepali Journalists Mahendra Bista focused on the controversial bill on contempt of court tabled at the parliament. He focused on its negative effect in the press. He further added that the proper discussion should be held with the stakeholders before passing the bill. Borna Bahadur Karki, president of Press Council Nepal said that freedom of expression and safety of journalists are two different sides of the same coin. “The younger generations have understood the importance of freedom of expression and safety of journalists which itself is a kind of achievement. Their understanding will definitely help in strengthening freedom of expression and press freedom”, he opined.
On the event Minister Yadav and UNESCO Officer-In-Charge Amita Vohra jointly unveiled the book, which is a collection of the essays, poems and artistic creations contributed by the young students, which addresses the role of free press and the importance of freedom of expression. The book includes seventeen essays, four poems and three artistic creations all based on the theme of free expression and the safety journalists.
The program was organized under UNPFN/ UNESCO project ‘Increasing the Safety of Journalists’ to felicitate the students who participated in the national level essay, poem and art competition under the theme ‘Role of free expression and the importance of the safety of the journalists’. The programme chaired by Rem Bahadur Bishokarma, president of the Jagaran Media Center was attended by a total of 75 persons including university officials, media academics, journalists and the participating students.
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