When the elected despots copy the other elected despots
In April 2019 we visited Nepal to do a check-up on the freedom of the press.
“It’s there”, people told us, referring to the 2015-constitution.
But – and there is a big but – the new government have made new acts that in reality bypass the press freedom.
After the new Civil and Criminal Code Act in 2018 and the Information and Technology Act, many feared that that the Maoist government would use the new act to crush political dissent and muzzle the media.
Kunda Dixit, Publisher and Editor at Nepali Times says:
“It almost seems as if these elected despots have midnight meetings on conference call on Skype to exchange notes on what works, what doesn’t work in controlling the press. And you see for example, that the Nepali Information and Technology Act is identical to Bangladesh’s Digital Security Act, which is identical to the one Malaysia passed two years ago.
So, it’s almost like learning from each other and now the target is social media and the internet.
They have managed to control the mainstream press through pressure advertisers, through labor laws, through libel and defamation suits.”
Others talk about more and more self-censorship in media, and others – who gets threats on their lives – after investigation illegal land grabbing – does not receive any support from the journalist organizations who were supposed to support them.
In four new interviews we draw the attention to Nepal and asks how freedom of the press is carried out.