NEPAL: Kantipur FM to move Supreme Court

Kantipur FM plans to take its case against the government to Nepal's Supreme Court, as other FM radio stations protest the government's seizure of transmission equipment from the station

Nepal News
Sunday, October 23, 2005

AsiaMedia Editor's Note: Reports are unclear as to whether the lifting of the state of emergency on April 30 allows for press freedom, and thus Nepalnews may still be operating under the directives of King Gyanendra.

Kantipur FM has decided to move to the Supreme Court against the attack by policemen and the seizure of transmission equipment by government officials with the help of police Friday midnight under the newly promulgated media ordinance.

The Kathmandu Post quoted legal advisor to Kantipur Publications Ram Krishna Nirala as saying, "We have prepared a case against the government action and the ordinance."

He added that the government took the equipment of the FM station despite the license it possesses to transmit the same programs from different locations from 2000, and a case seeking annulment of the new ordinance and return of the equipment has been filed.

Nirala claimed that the new ordinance contravenes the rights guaranteed by the constitution and the provision in the Radio Act.

Managing Director of the Kantipur FM Binod Raj Gyawali told Nepalnews that the transmission of the eastern region has been affected after the incident.

Talking to State Run Nepal Television, Spokesman of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) Ratna Raj Pandey said that the ministry took action against Kantipur FM as it was airing program defying recently promulgated ordinance which prohibits to air program from different locations at the same time.

In its front page editorial entitled "State Terror" the Kantipur daily described the incident as a systematic attack to not only the FM station and journalists but also the rights of all FM audience and general public as well.

The Kathmandu Post in its front page editorial "State Terrorism" described the incident as similar to the Maoist attack at Nepal Television's regional station at Kohalpur in western Nepal on February 25 and writes "The government's midnight attack at Kantipur FM, bringing its eastern region transmission to a halt, is also aimed at stopping it from providing true and objective information to its six million audience in the eastern region."

FM stations to go off-air for two minutes

FM stations across the country are halting broadcasting for two minutes today at 7 p.m. protesting the forceful confiscation of equipment at Kantipur FM, a private radio station based in Kathmandu, by government's security officials Friday night.

The one day national conference of FM radio stations held in Chitwan on Saturday took the decision to this effect expressing commitment to jointly protest against the government's attack on Kantipur FM.

Issuing a seven-point declaration, the conference has directed all FM stations to defy the recently promulgated media ordinance.

The conference also cautioned all FM stations to be aware of the government's "divide and rule" policy. The declaration has asked all free radio stations in the country to join hands for a common cause.

Before the conference the FM radio representatives organized a protest rally in Narayangadh.

Meanwhile the government has directed officials of all FM stations to be present for a meeting at the Ministry today. According to reports FM stations have been called for the meeting at different times. However some FM stations have not been called.

The conference also decided to move to the Court against the government's action on Kantipur FM.