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Nepal - Kong Gyanendras regering forsøger at stække den frie presse!

NEPAL: Government crackdown on broadcast media continues

IRINnews.org, 29. november 2005

Kong Gyanendras regering er under hårdt pres for at opgive sin autoritære magt, og knægtelse af pressens rettigheder er et af midlerne. Efter at Radio Sagarmatha, Nepals første lokalradio, udsendte et BBC-interview med maoist-lederen Prachandra, blev radiostationens udstyr beslagtlagt og fire teknikere og journalister blev arresteret. Dette er den anden aktion mod en radiostation efter en tidligere aktion mod Kantipur FM. Nepals Højesteret er gået ind i sagen, der anses af meget væsentlig betydning, da der er sket en meget betydningfuld knægtelse af ytringsfriheden med denne aktion.

Radio Sagarmatha - one of the most popular in the Kathmandu valley - has been prohibited from carrying BBC news since broadcasting an interview with a Maoist leader - ©  IRIN
KATHMANDU, 29 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - Popularly known as South Asia's first community radio station, Radio Sagarmatha has come under immense pressure from the Nepali government not to re-broadcast news from the BBC Nepali Service, following a BBC interview with Maoist rebels.

On Sunday, government-armed security personnel raided the station in the Pulchok area of the capital, Kathmandu, seized radio equipment and arrested four workers, including journalists and technicians, after the station aired a BBC interview with Maoist chief, Prachanda. Those arrested were released the next day.

The Ministry of Information and Communication has ordered the station to stop all transmissions until further notice, quoting the National Broadcast Act which bans the airing of any news that encourages terrorism.

However, the station resumed its services on Tuesday after the Supreme Court ordered the government to allow Radio Sagarmatha to continue its work until a final court hearing on 7 December.

But Ghamaraj Luitel from the station said the staff were under great pressure not to carry any more news from the BBC.

This is the second time in a month that the government has cracked down on private radio stations. Another popular station, Kantipur FM, was raided by the government following the introduction of a new media ordinance. Radio is one of most powerful mediums of information sharing in a country with high rates of illiteracy.

Meanwhile, the government has still blocked the BBC's Nepali website where a full transcript of the interview with the Maoist leader has been published.

Nepal's media have been subject to strict censorship and government restrictions since 1 February when King Gyanendra assumed direct rule of the Himalayan kingdom. Since then, many journalists have been arrested and several newspapers closed down.

© IRIN - This article appeared originally on IRIN News.org and is published by engelund.dk according a general agreement. To view the original article, please click here.
IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) is a project of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
[This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.]


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Opdateret d. 23.12.2005