Mediapersons have responsibility to abide by the principles of journalism

Kathmandu, September 16

Chairperson of the National Assembly Ganesh Prasad Timilsina said spreading fake news and wrong information by the media was an insult to the constitution that guaranteed freedom of the press.

Addressing the closing ceremony of a training programme organised by Media Action Nepal in collaboration with the US Embassy in Nepal, Timilsina said, “It is the moral responsibility of media persons to abide by the principles of journalism.”

The training on ‘Preventing Disinformation and Promoting Credible Journalism’ brought together 30 journalists, who had three productive days through virtual sessions by renowned experts, according to a press release issued by Media Action Nepal. The Chair of the Upper House of the Parliament urged the participants representing broadcast, print and online media from Panchthar, Ilam and

Jhapa districts in Province 1 not to engage in any act that raised doubts among the public about credibility of journalism.

At the programme, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry said credible journalism is a vital issue for journalists who are “change-makers”. Stating that freedom of expression should never be compromised, he urged journalists to identify the wrongs in the society and maintain the highest professional and ethical standards.

“The competition to attract and keep an audience and to break news fast has led to instances where news articles were published without proper fact-checking and often sensationalised headlines.

Purposeful or not, misinformation and disinformation have serious consequences,” the envoy said, asserting that misinformation and disinformation deprived the public of their right to correct information and corroded the public’s trust in institutions.

Also addressing the program, President of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists Govinda Acharya, hailed the training saying that it would enhance the understanding of journalists on fake news and misinformation.

“Journalists and media organisations should impart factual and accurate information and news,” Acharya said, calling on media persons to fight against misinformation. Information Specialist at U.S.

Embassy, Prerana Marasini said the training was organised with a view of equipping journalists with required skills. “With expansion of sources of news and information, there are challenges in dealing with fake news,” she said.

Chairperson of Media Action Nepal Laxman Datt Pant said the organisation had been continuously working towards capacity building of journalists, protecting freedom of speech and expression and fighting for the safety of journalists.

Sunita Rai of Chiyabari FM Radio said the training enriched her knowledge and expressed commitment to put what she had gained to practice.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 17, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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