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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 74

Journalists in Nepal condemn draconian media ordinance

[b]Journalists in Nepal condemn draconian media ordinance[/b]

By Bikash Sangraula in Kathmandu

[b]Kathmandu, 12 October, ( [/b]Nepalese journalists have termed a draconian media ordinance promulgated by King Gyanendra as “black ordinance” and have vowed to fight against it on the streets and in the court of law.

King Gyanendra, on Sunday, promulgated a media ordinance that severely restricts information flow through independent media in the country.

The ordinance imposes severe penalties on reports deemed favorable to the Maoist rebels or critical of the members of the royal family. The ordinance has increased by 10-fold the fines on editors and publishers for defamation or publication of banned items, and has banned altogether news broadcasts in Nepal’s FM stations. The ordinance also bars Nepal’s media from subscribing international news from any other international news agency except from the state-owned Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) without prior approval.

Nepal’s Save Independent Radio Movement (SIRM) has defied the ban on news broadcasts altogether.

“We are continuing with our news broadcasts,” said SIRM spokesperson Ghamaraj Luintel. “All the FM stations in the country that have carried news broadcasts in the past, have continued to do so even after the imposition of the ban,” he added.

There are 56 FM stations registered in Nepal, out of which 48 are operating. Thirty-three of them run news broadcasts. FMs are the most popular and effective source of information in the country, and the stations have a reach to more than 75 percent of the country’s demography.

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