Monday, October 24, 2005

SC to continue hearing on media law on Sunday

Kathmandu Oct 24-The Supreme Court will continue hearing on a joint writ petition filed by nine professional groups on Sunday.

After preliminary hearings on behalf of petitioners, Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel ordered to continue hearing on the petition on Sunday together with hearings on another petition filed by advocates Ravi Raj Bhandari and Kaher Singh Khadka “since both the petitions were of similar nature.” The court will also hear the case jointly on Sunday.

He also expressed his belief that the government will not interfere in the media sector from now on.The Chief Justice's comments came during the hearing on writ petitions filed against media ordinance and seizure of uplinking equipments from Kantipur FM by the government.He also said the court will decide on whether to issue an interim stay order on the

Earlier, president of Nepal Bar Association (NBA) Shambhu Thapa, vice president Sher Bahadur KC, general secretary Madhav Baskota, executive member Tikaram Bhattarai, senior advocate Daman Nath Dhungana, senior advocate Radheshyam Adhikari, advocate Harihar Dahal and advocate Subash Nemwang pleaded on behalf of the petitioners.

They argued that the new media ordinance introduced by the government early this month contradicted with the constitution of the kingdom of Nepal, 1990, and hence needed to be scrapped. They said the state could impose reasonable restrictions on fundamental rights of the people, as per the constitution, only during the state of emergency. Since the country was not under the state of emergency, there was no justification for introducing such law, they argued.

The well-known lawyers also termed the government’s act of seizing communications equipment from the office of Kantipur F. M. station around mid-night on Friday as violation of the very notion of rule of law and demanded that the court order the government to return the equipment and not disrupt its eastern regional transmission.

Nine professional organizations, including Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), Nepal Bar Association, organizations of university teachers, doctors, engineers, school teachers and radio broadcasters had filed a joint petition at the apex court on Sunday challenging the new ordinance on media.

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