Saturday, October 22, 2005

State Terrorism (The Cowardly Act)

"This government is more terrorist than the Maoists."

Bhupati Dhakal, the chairperson of the Nepal Professors Association reportedly said in the mass meeting of the journalists. When I heard it from somebody I thought its a little exaggeration. But Friday night, the government proved he was more than right.

More than three dozens policemen, armed and uniformed, who came in three police vans at midnight forcefully entered the building of Kantipur FM, the most popular private radio station broadcasting in Kathmandu and Eastern region of Nepal, and 'looted' all the equipment necessary to uplink the broadcasting to eastern region.

Around 24 hours have already been passed but there have been no words from the government about it. All the political parties and professional associations have condemned the act as 'dacoit' and 'naked terror'. But when the state who is supposed to protect from such things turns into evil, who will listen?

If you call anything going in Nepal a drama, this piece of chapter would be called The Cowardly Act. Friday afternoon, government officials asked the FM to delink its broadcasting which the FM refused with a perfectly legal point that they have all the documents provided by the government to do so and wouldn't do it unless there is a formal directives from the ministry.

The officials waited five hours for the outcome of the meeting that was supposedly being held in ministry. At the end, they went with a letter from FM stating that 'they had come.'

Four hours later, when the city was sleeping, the policemen came with the two engineers who had inspected the facility during the day, and took away all the equipment – a day before the seventh anniversary of the radio station.

King Gyanendra's men are now at the lowest level of wrongdoings attacking press in such a way that hasn't been seen in the history. O sad, I don't know where my country is heading and what more terror we have to face.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

More Screws for Press

If the King's democracy is the real one, there would have no need to shut the mouths. But his model of democracy won't allow people to speak up anything about him and his family. The new Communication Ordinance promulgated on the first day of long holidays of the biggest festival in the country, on Oct 9 – probably to steam down the protest as many were outside the Kathmandu Valley – gives media no rights of write or broadcast anything about him and his family. Why? Simply because he doesn't want his wrongdoings to be known by the people.

The new ordinance is harassing for press as there are effectively unexpected punishments – a threat to media. It doesn't allow a media house to run three types of media – very good, but what about the government? Won't it effect for their three types of media?

The ordinance won't allow any radio station to uplink their broadcast to other station or region – a practice state-owned Radio Nepal is doing for many many years. Nepal has been pacesetters in the community and private radio broadcasting in South Asia which will remain no more. If the ordinance is allowed it would kill the private radio.

It also bans all radio to broadcast news because radio news has been much more popular than expected. The government is saying the practice exists nowhere in the world. Okay, if something that doesn't exist in the world should also be removed from Nepal, let's remove active monarchy. Does any country these days is ruled by the King?

Media, a sector that fostered in the democracy, has grown into an industry. Journalists like us have been able to live by the profession – unlike 15 years ago when journalists were considered beggars and blackmailers and political activists. But now it looks like we are going backwards and the King want nothing more than state-owned media that would broadcast his walk among the citizens for half an hour in prime time news.

Journalists are taking on road to protest the ordinance, thanks to some people who have registered writ in the Supreme Court thus it hasn't been enforced yet.

What the king should understand now is that closing his own eyes won't make all people blind.