Prime Minister Deuba’s ludicrous claims about press
Sujit Mainali / July 24, 2017
At a book launch in Kathmandu on July 6 in Kathmandu, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba spoke in length about press and press freedom. South Asia Check has examined whether the following three statements made by Deuba at the function are fact-based or not:
- The right to information exists nowhere in the world except in Nepal.
- Press censorship is imposed during the state of emergency, but [in Nepal] even during the emergency [when I was prime minister], there was no such censorship. Everyone was free to criticize the government.
- Neither India nor even Europe has more newspapers than Nepal. Also Nepal has more TV channels than India or Europe or America.
First claim: The right to information exists nowhere in the world except in Nepal.
Article 27 of the Constitution of Nepal, 2015 has ensured the ‘Right to Information’ of the citizens. This right is being enjoyed by citizens of various countries, including Nepal. For example, this right is also ensured in our two neighboring countries India and Pakistan.
Therefore, the prime minister’s statement is absurd.
Second claim: Press censorship is imposed during the state of emergency, but [in Nepal] even during the emergency [when I was prime minister], there was no such censorship. Everyone was free to criticize the government
Here, Deuba is referring to the state of emergency that was imposed during the Maoist insurgency in November 2001 by the Deuba-led government.
Despite Deuba’s claim that he was committed to press freedom, defenders of press freedom like Reporters Without Borders [RSF] had put Deuba in the list of ‘predators of press freedom‘ for his actions against the press during the emergency. “When he imposed a state of emergency in November 2001 to combat “Maoist terrorism”, the Prime Minister also resolved to cover up the arrests, torture and intimidation of journalists by the security forces. He has turned his country into the world’s biggest prison for journalists,” RSF mentioned in a report made public in August, 2002.
Therefore, Prime Minister Deuba’s this claim is ludicrous.
Third claim: Neither India nor even Europe has more newspapers than Nepal. Also, Nepal has more TV channels than India or Europe or America.
India has the largest number of daily newspapers, followed by US and China, according to newsmaster, an internationally acclaimed statistical website. Germany ranks seventh. In Europe, Germany has the highest number of dailies.
Similarly, Russia has highest number of TV stations. US ranks third with France in the eighth and India in the ninth positions. Nepal ranks 160th in the list.
Therefore, Prime Minister Deuba’s statement is preposterous.
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