Kathmandu, Oct 24 : The Press Council Nepal (PCN), the media ombudsman body, has received 51 complaints related to the violation of journalist code of conduct in the last three months.
Of these complaints lodged with the PCN in the last three months of the current fiscal year 2018/19, thirty-seven are related to the code violation by the electronic media and 14 are related to the code infringement by the print media.
It is stated that 11 of the 37 complaints related to the electronic media have been cleared and 26 are in the process of action, PCN officiating chief officer and information officer, Deepak Khanal, said.
According to Khanal, four out of the 14 complaints related to the print media have been cleared and process for action has been initiated regarding the remaining 10.
Most of the complaints are about publication or dissemination of false news, character assassination and defamation.
Khanal said the PCN received 165 complaints in fiscal year 2017/2018, one hundred and twelve complaints in fiscal year 2016/2017, one hundred and one complaints in fiscal year 2015/2016, fifty-one complaints in fiscal year 2014/2015, thirty-nine complaints in fiscal year 2013/2014 and 46 complaints in fiscal year 2012/2013.
The Council has stated that the number of complaints regarding the breach of the journalist code of conduct has been found increasing as compared to the past.
The Council itself monitors the news carried by newspapers and magazines, radio, television and online media.
Khanal said that based on the complaints filed at the PCN, mostly online media are found to be violating the code in comparison to than the print media, radio and television. He said the number of complaints has increased after the PCN made provision for filing complaints online since January 21, 2018.
Press Council could revoke the press pass issued by the Department of Information (DoI), exclude from the Council’s evaluation categories, and publish and broadcast publicly with details as the final action against those media violating the code of conduct.
Acting President of Council, Kishor Shrestha, said that the press pass being distributed by the DoI should be issued by Press Council as Council is related with media and journalists.
Shrestha said, “We have been making preparation to bring new Press Council Act by amending the 26-year old act. The new Act will incorporate all media and journalists.”
The Press Council was established in 2028 BS in order to play regulatory role for the development of healthy and disciplined journalism. The Press Council has issued Journalist Code of Conduct-2073 BS with consent of Federation of Nepali Journalists.
The Council has provided Rs 80,000 to seven journalists as medical treatment assistance from Journalists Welfare Fund in last three months. Similarly, the Council provided Rs 157,943 aid to four media houses from Media Development Fund.
Formulation of Working Procedure related to Journalist Code of Conduct Complaints and Action-2075 BS has reached final phase, according to the Council.
FNJ President Govinda Acharya expressed the view that media houses themselves should formulate and implement the code of conduct along with Journalist Code of Conduct issued by Press Council.