Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Nepal 19 October 2005

International Organisations Condemn Further Restrictions on Press Freedoms and Freedom of Expression in Nepal

(Released on 17 October 2005)

This statement is issued by members of the ‘International Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression Mission to Nepal’.

-  ARTICLE 19
-  Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
-  International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
-  International Media Support (IMS)
-  International Press Institute (IPI)
-  Press Institute of India (PII)
-  Reporters sans Frontières (RSF)
-  South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA)
-  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
-  World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)
-  World Association of Newspapers (WAN)

We, as members of the ‘International Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression Mission to Nepal’, express our serious concern that HM King Gyanendra, together with the government and security forces, is seeking to further undermine Nepal’s vibrant independent media, which has been opposing the actions of the authorities to curb press freedoms and freedom of expression since 1 February 2005.

In specific, we condemn the ‘Ordinance Amending some of the Nepal Act related to Media’ promulgated on 9 October. This Ordinance contains a number of provisions to amend existing media laws, thereby introducing strict controls over the publication and broadcast of materials and ownership of the media, as well as introducing harsher penalties for those considered to be contravening the law.

Penalties have increased dramatically, with journalists charged with defamation now facing fines ten-times higher than before, and a possible two-year jail term. The Ordinance also prohibits an organization or individual from receiving licenses to operate radio, television and newspapers. Those who have already been granted licenses to operate all three media are now limited to choosing any two forms within a year.

Other provisions ban the importing of foreign publications that contain prohibited information and barring FM stations from broadcasting news-related programmes. These stations will be limited to airing “informative” programmes on health, education, weather, road and transport conditions and other similar development topics, whilst being banned from addressing, amongst others, "any subject matters with negative effects to political parties," "offensive matters," and "any matters against non-aligned foreign policy of Nepal". Under the Ordinance any news that “causes hatred or disrespect” to any member of the royal family will also be prohibited.

We wish to reaffirm our solidarity with the media community and freedom of expression advocates in Nepal who continue to be the victims of intimidation, harassment, repression and violence. In this regard, we will continue to support the media community, without any intention to interfere in the editorial lines of the Nepali media.

We praise the media community for its dynamism in defending media rights and freedom of expression and call on the authorities to reconsider the ‘Ordinance Amending some of the Nepal Act related to Media’, as well as end all forms of direct and indirect censorship, intimidation, harassment and attacks against the media community and freedom of expression advocates.

In addition, we urge the international community to step up support for the independent media in order to help save one of the kingdom’s last surviving democratic gains.




In this country
30 April - Nepal
Radio station threatened by Maoists
8 February - Nepal
Nepalese media in great danger, International Press Freedom Mission finds
14 January - Nepal
Four arrested for woman journalist’s murder, while clandestine group claims responsibility
12 January - Nepal
Journalist and women’s rights activist brutally murdered
23 December - Nepal
Militant maoists continue their attacks against the media

in the annual report
Nepal - Annual report 2008
Nepal - Annual report 2007
Nepal - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised