Report of the International Mission to Nepal for Promoting Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists
The Nepal International Media Partnership (NIMP) visited Nepal from 19 to 23 April 2015 to assess the media freedom situation in the country and to provide technical inputs to the then ongoing UNPFN/UNESCO project, Increasing the Safety of Journalists. The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) hosted the NIMP mission. This report contains key recommendations put forward by NIMP to the Nepali government and central stakeholders in the Nepali media sector.
The NIMP, formerly the International Media Mission to Nepal, is an alliance of 14 international organisations including UN agencies, global media associations, freedom of expression advocates and media development organisations. NIMP began taking shape in 2005 in response to the political changes and controls on the media and freedom of expression in Nepal when the king suspended democracy and began ruling directly, during a time when the Maoist conflict had escalated. The first advocacy and assessment visit by NIMP took place in July 2005 while the April 2015 visit was the eighth joint mission.
The aims of the missions have been to expand the space for freedom of expression and to express solidarity with journalists who were standing up to oppose the controls on media freedom. In the process, the missions have been instrumental in initiating activities to protect journalists and in recommending policy reforms, including the adoption of a right to information (RTI) law.
The primary objective of the 2015 NIMP Mission was to provide technical inputs to activities underway under UNESCO’s Safety of Journalists project, particularly in terms of setting up an independent national mechanism on safety at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Another key objective was to advocate in favour of international best practices on press freedom, freedom of expression (FOE) and the right to information (RTI).
Unlike previous missions, where advocacy had been the main objective, the 2015 Mission focused on three areas:
- The architecture of the NHRC mechanism, including a review of the procedures, by-laws, structure and organisation for making it an effective tool for ensuring safety of journalists and free expression advocates.
- Advocating in favour of respect for international standards on free expression and the safety of journalists, including via enabling provisions on free expression in the new constitution.
- Activities relating to the UNESCO safety project where there was need for international technical support.