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Nepal cracks down on reporting on Maoist insurgency

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, March 2, IRNA -- Clamping down on the right of the media 
to free and fair reporting, the Nepal monarch Gyanendra on Wednesday 
instructed the media houses in the Nepalese territory not to publish 
news reports about Maoist insurgency without quoting sources from 
security agencies. 
"He warned of punishment if any report directly or indirectly 
supports terrorist activities," reports the Press Trust of India. 
"Unless any publication or broadcasting house acquires information
from sources of security bodies, publishing interviews, articles, 
news, information, reading materials, opinion or personal views that 
directly or indirectly instigate or support terrorist and destructive 
activities and terrorism will be punished," said the notice issued by 
Nepal`s Ministry of Information and Communication. 
By prohibiting such news items, the government has just tried 
to make the information and communication sector systematic so 
that the morale of the terrorists will not get a boost in the 
course of dissemination of information, Nepal`s Information and 
Communication Minister Tanka Dhakal claimed. 
"The press should be restrained and responsible and disseminate 
objective information only," he was quoted as saying by the National 
News Agency. 
"This measure is not censorship. Terrorism can be blunted only 
f the mass media fulfills its duty and responsibility in a 
responsible manner," Dhakal said. 
Editors of three Nepalese weeklies had to appear before 
authorities on February 24 to explain the reason for keeping the 
ditorial page of their publications blank following the ban on 
comments against the royal coup carried out by the Nepalese King. 
Rights situation in Nepal has been rapidly deteriorating ever 
since King Gyanendra took up power in a coup in the first week of 
February this year. 
Visiting Nepal after the coup Amnesty International`s General 
Secretary Irene Khan said, "The human rights crisis in Nepal did not 
start on February 1 with the declaration of emergency. It is an 
ongoing cycle, which is being aggravated and complicated by the state 
of emergency." 

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