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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 78

India, IFJ, CPJ condemn Nepal's media ordinance

[b]India, IFJ, CPJ condemn Nepal's media ordinance[/b]

By Bikash Sangraula in Kathmandu

[b] Kathmandu, 14 October, ([/b] India, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have condemned the draconian media ordinance announced by Nepal's King Gyanendra of October 9, saying that the ordinance is meant to curb press freedoms in Nepal and is against the rights enshrined in the 1990 constitution of Nepal.

The Ministry of External Affair, New Delhi, has warned through a statement that the ordinance could be counterproductive.

"Curbs on the freedom of expression and media, which is a fundamental pillar of democracy, will inevitably be counter-productive. We hope that the Ordinance would not be used to curb the freedom of expression and of the press in Nepal,” the statement says.

"Though we have not yet seen the text of the Ordinance, we understand from media reports that several additional restrictions have been imposed on the media. We have always believed that a free and independent press is necessary for the people to enjoy their fundamental rights and democratic freedoms," the statement further says.

The ordinance imposes severe penalties to reports deemed favourable to the Maoists and critical of the royal family, bans news broadcasts on FM stations, increased the fines for defamation and publication of banned items by 10-fold, and bars media houses from owning a newspaper, a radio station and a television station. The ordinance also bans subscription of reports from foreign news agencies and mandates that all independent media houses subscribe only to the state owned Rastriya Samachar Samiti.

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