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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 72

Nepal’s court decision opens door to permanent censorship

[b]Nepal’s court decision opens door to permanent censorship[/b]

[b]Kathmandu, 13 November, ( [/b]New York based Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) has said that the decision of Nepal’s Supreme Court Friday of not issuing a stay order to the draconian media ordinance opens door to permanent censorship and has expressed fears that the decision could mean that journalists in Nepal are at the mercy of King Gyanendra.

“King Gyanendra promised that his draconian measures against the press would be temporary. But this latest decision opens the door to permanent censorship,” said Ann Cooper, Executive Director of CPJ, according to statement posted on CPJ website. “If the Supreme Court does not protect the basic right to freedom of expression enshrined in Nepal’s constitution, then journalists are at the mercy of the King.”

Shocking the independent media workers in the country, the Supreme Court Friday rejected a plea from Nepal’s biggest media group, Kantipur, to issue a stay order on the ordinance. The court remained silent on another petition seeking return of transmission equipment seized at gun point by security forces from Kantipur FM, a popular FM station, in Kathmandu in October. The court, however, said that other cases related to media be given top priority. There is another petition seeking the annulment of the ordinance. Ruling on the case is pending.

Following the court order on Friday, Kantipur FM has stopped news broadcasts. Apart from banning news broadcasts, the ordinance bars criticism of the royal family, imposes hefty financial and prison penalties for libel, bars independent media houses from subscribing to foreign news agencies, and bars cross ownership of media.

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