Pant addresses Special Session on ‘Protection Mechanisms in Asia’

Pant addresses Special Session on ‘Protection Mechanisms in Asia’

Mr. Laxman Datt Pant, Chairperson of Media Action Nepal (MAN) has participated in the international seminar titled ‘Reinforcing Regional Cooperation to Promote Freedom of Expression and the Rule of Law in Asia’ organized in Colombo-the capital city of Sri Lanka on December 4, 2017. The seminar organized by UNESCO and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Finance and Media sought to advance dialogues and strategies to strengthen the regional cooperation on safety of journalists and ending impunity in Asia.

Attended by media rights advocates, commissioners of the human rights commissions of Asia, journalists and academia from 25 countries the seminar was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe with a ‘keynote speech; where he said that the government of Sri Lanka welcomed the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists to protect media and Sri Lanka would continue to strengthen its democracy to ensure the smooth implementation of the Plan.

Meanwhile MAN Chairperson Mr. Laxman Datt Pant addressed the special session on ‘National protection and impunity mechanism in Asia’ as one of the speakers where he stressed on engaging state agencies to end impunity for crimes against journalists. Pant pointed out that those who had been in power in 2001-2003 at the time of killing of many journalists were now back in power. ‘Action hadn’t been taken to investigate killings and attacks on journalists’, Pant added.

Other speakers in panel Ms. Geeta Seshu, Contributing Editor of the Hoot, India, Mr. Ilias Alami, Operations Manager of Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC), Ms. Angkhana Meelapaijit, Commissioner at the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, Ms. Fathimath Isha Afeef, Journalist, Maldives Independent and Mr. Owais Aslam Ali agreed that much more had to be done to improve the situation in the region. Addressing the session Seshu, Ali and the Afeef painted a bleak picture of their countries. They blamed their governments for allowing state agencies as well as other ‘actors’ to relentlessly pursue media hostile to them.

Mr. Guy Berger, Director, Division on Freedom of Expression and Media development, UNESCO, who moderated the session turning towards the panel said that they certainly painted a gloomy picture. All speakers pushed for further international interventions in their governments to improve the situation.