Supreme Court of Nepal Orders Government to Stop Licence Cancellation

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries, has welcomed the Nepalese Supreme Court's interim order in the Nepal FM licence cancellation case.

On August 3, the Nepalese government alleged that independent radio station Nepal FM had breached a ban on airing any kind of news on FM radio. The government granted the radio station seven days to explain why it should not be permanently shut down.

The Supreme Court of Nepal instructed the government on August 10 to stop the licence cancellation procedure until the court delivers its final verdict on the case, adding that the ban would have a serious impact upon people's right to information.

"This is an extremely significant decision in the context of the fight for journalists' rights in Nepal," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

"Although the case has not yet been won, recognition of journalists' rights and the public's right to access information shows that we are making some progress in the fight for press freedom in Nepal," said the IFJ President.

Activists throughout Nepal have been encouraged by the court's interim order and several radio stations immediately recommenced broadcasting news.

Nepal FM News Chief, Binod Dhungel said the station has expanded its news content and called on other independent stations to challenge the government's dictatorial order by resuming their own news bulletins.

There is a history of the Nepal Supreme Court making decisions in favour of journalists, with the court preventing the closure of radio material distributor Communications Corner in June 2005, and redefining freedom of press to also include radio in a landmark case in 2001.

Journalists are also fighting the government's repressive media policies with a series of demonstrations, including a Global Day of Action for Press Freedom in Nepal on August 30, organised by the IFJ.

The IFJ also participated in the International Advocacy Mission for Press Freedom in Nepal from July 10 to 16. Click here to read the full mission statement.

For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 (0) 411 757 668
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries