Nepali Media Faces Sustainability Crisis: Report

RSS Nepal
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The Nepali media witnessed a huge financial crisis in the past year- 2023, thereby causing a severe dent in the sustainability of free press.

The slump in the advertisement market has resulted in massive retrenchment in media houses, while a favourable legal and policy atmosphere is still awaited, according to a report.

"The Nepali media is in need of immediate rescue, with favourable legal/policy environment and financial support so that press freedoms would be survived, protected and promoted," the media report released by Freedom Forum stated, arguing that the media is at a critical juncture of 'sink or swim' stage.

According to the report, the migration of advertisements to digital platforms and Apps of late is a worrying trend. Labour disputes in media houses, muddled management of social media, and the spread of mis- and disinformation are significant issues dwelt in it.

The report categorizes the types of intimidation on journalists and media houses, presents observations, analyses media-related laws and policies at federal, provincial and local levels, reminds impunity relating to crimes against journalists, welcomes National Human Rights Commission's initiative to make the safety mechanism functional, and makes recommendations as well.

This past year, as the report archives, recorded a total of 52 press freedom violations where 59 media persons were directly affected, among which, 8 per cent are female and 92 per cent the male. It is a rise compared to the previous year where violations stood at 45 in 2022.

Freedom Forum's Executive Chief, Taranath Dahal, observed, "The media-related laws and policies must abide by the national legislation and international human rights standard. The media laws must not be criminal law but ensured the civil law." He also pointed out the need to boost the advertisement industry and urged the government to distribute advertisements fairly and proportionally.

Notably, the closure of as many as 100 media outlets and 243 media persons quitting their job are reported.

The report recommended, "Capacity enhancement of journalists on digital technology including AI in journalism practices is necessary to make them more competitive and familiar with contextual changes and challenges. Massive digital literacy is essential to make social media and other digital space safe."



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