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Discussion Session on Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression in Nepal: Looking at the Problems in Legislation and Practice

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Discussion Session on Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression in Nepal: Looking at the Problems in Legislation and Practice


17 January 2019

Kathmandu, Nepal


According to the World Press Freedom Index, Nepal ranks second in South Asia in 2018, which positioned them at 106 among 180 countries worldwide in regards to press freedom. Although Nepal’s ranking in the press freedom index is comparatively better than other countries in the region, it has regressed six positions behind in just one year. Nepal’s ranking was 100 in 2017. One of the significant reasons behind the fall is the deterioration of right to freedom of the press in Nepal since the beginning of local election in 2017.

At least 17 journalists were unlawfully arrested without any warrant on different dates during the local and parliamentary elections for alleged activities against the polling[1]. Dozens of websites critical of the State and police officials were blocked. The Government of Nepal had also seemingly failed to protect the journalists from attacks of non-state actors during elections. More than 18 incidents of physical attacks, and almost 10 death threats to journalists, mostly by non-state actors, were recorded while they were observing election activities or reporting critical news against such actors[2]. The violation of press freedom and attacks and harassments on press continued post elections as well. In 2018 itself 171 journalists, 184 citizen journalists, and 16 media assistants were imprisoned[3].

In this context, new legislation which further criminalises expression and journalist activities raise a serious alarm for the need to protect the fundamental right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Nepal.

The discussion session is planned on this background and against the issues, challenges and resolves touched upon above.

The objectives of the discussion are to (a) critically review and reflect on pressing challenges and limitations to press freedom and freedom of expression in Nepal; and, (b) develop an action plan highlighting on ways to engage for advocating freedom of press and expression. The discussion also hopes to increase awareness among activists, academicians, and experts on the emerging issues regarding limitations in press freedom and freedom of expression in Nepal.

Media contacts

  • Anjuman Ara Begum <[email protected]> South Asia Programme Officer, FORUM-ASIA; Phone +977 – 98238 15517, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Adity Karki <[email protected]> South Asia Programme Intern, FORUM-ASIA; Phone +977 9849 330100

About the organiser

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is a membership-based human rights and development organisation in Asia with a network of 67 members in 21 countries across the region. FORUM-ASIA works to promote and protect all human rights for all, including the right to development, through collaboration and cooperation among human rights organisations and defenders in Asia and beyond.