No threat to press, says Minister Baskota

Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota has made it clear the government has no policy to pose challenges to democracy and the free press. In his replies to questions raised by the House of Representatives members in regard with the Appropriation Bill-2076 BS, he said the government had not pushed anyone towards difficulty and there was no threat to press from anywhere.

“The government has not questioned anyone nor did anything for writing the news and no effort has been made to put a string on the free press.”Stating that efforts were underway to systematise means of mass communication through an act, the line minister said press freedom was facing external and self-created challenges.

“When the press loses credibility, it backfires the press.” He took time to assure that positive voices came in regard with the Media Council Bill registered in the National Assembly would be addressed, claiming no discrimination in the welfare advertisement. The bill aimed to further strengthening the Press Council and impartiality had been maintained in the classifications of newspapers, he added.

He informed the House that the government last year announced to place 738 telephone towers in the current fiscal and so far 726 tower had been placed. “A total of nine projects including the 4G are in the operation and the side of 4G project is about to finalized.”

Approximately 4100 towers will be added for 4G service, he said. Installation of optical fiber in the Mid-Hill Highway has started, and data recovery centre has come into operation. Update of 2G and 3G service is underway, and 5G service is under test in Biratnagar, Kathmandu, Nepalgunj and Pokhara, he said.

Satellite process has initiated, and security printing process has started. Talks have been held to give discount on internet installation fees, and broadband network has been set up in 1574 offices of 318 local levels, said the minister. The drive to set up computer labs in the total 1000 community schools, and for that the campaign to establish model school in each of seven states has started by opening a school in Pokhara, he said.

Efforts were underway to modernise postal service, which has been incurring losses, he said, adding that a police level provision has been brought in place that bans any political party launching its election campaign through advertisement.

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