Photo Essay: Nepalese protest for democracy and press freedoms
Dinesh Wagle's photo essay of protests against the Feb. 1 royal government coup
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
King Gyanendra assumed absolute power over Nepal in a royal coup on Feb. 1. The King's decision came at a time when Nepal was under attack from Maoist insurgents that continue to threaten the lives of the people living in the Himalayan kingdom.
The King dissolved the country's parliamentary government and imposed tougher restrictions on the media in an effort gain greater control over the country in order to battle the insurgency.
Since the move, many Nepalese journalists and politicians have staged rallies against the government, agitating for the return democracy and freedom of expression.
Journalists, politicians and rights activists continue to be arrested and harassed on an almost regular basis for protesting in the name of democracy and freedom of press.
In some respects, journalists and civil society leaders have seen their efforts succeed. Protests led the way to the first significant legal victory against the royal government on Aug. 10, when Nepal's Supreme Court denied the government the right to take action against Rainbow FM for defying the ban on airing news programs on FM radio.
But they have also seen their efforts fail. On Nov. 11, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government and refused to issue a stay order against a controversial media ordinance enacted by the King. The date for the final hearing on controversial press law has not been set and Nepal's independent media remains under control of a government that has attempted to silence criticism of its policies.
Additional text by Vincent Lim.
Date Posted: 11/22/2005