Ambika Timsina

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Attacks on the Press   |   Nepal

Attacks on the Press 2002: Nepal

Political turmoil and an intensified Maoist insurgency severely strained Nepal's young democracy and profoundly challenged the country's independent media. In November 2001, the government, then led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, imposed a state of emergency, introduced a sweeping anti-terrorism ordinance, and called out the army to counter the mounting threat posed by Maoist rebels. Each of these actions had serious repercussions for the press in 2002. Under the state of emergency, in effect until late August, press freedom and other civil liberties were suspended. The anti-terrorism ordinance--formally known as the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance and commonly referred to as TADO--identifies the Maoist faction of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-M) as a terrorist group and allows for the arrest of anyone "in contact with" or "supportive of" the rebels. More than 100 journalists were detained during 2002 under these broad provisions, which remain in force. The government also introduced reporting guidelines, banning anything "likely to create hatred against [the] Royal Nepal Army, police, and civil servants, and lower their morale and dignity."
March 31, 2003 12:04 PM ET

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