Monday, November 28, 2005

Radio Sagarmatha moves SC

Kathmandu,Nov 28-Radio Sagarmatha and Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court (SC) against the government’s raid at the FM station on Sunday night.

Claiming that the government’s action was illegal, the petitioner demanded SC’s interim order for the resumption of radio transmission.

The government had asked the FM station to shut down its transmission until further notice.
They also urged the SC to ask the government to return all the radio equipment confiscated from radio station.

According to officials of the FM station, armed security officials left behind two letters issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) during the time of raid. One of the letters said the Ministry had ordered the station to stop all its transmission until further notice, as per National Broadcast Act 2049 BS, for airing programmes that would encourage terrorists or terrorist activities. Another letter said the government had ordered to seize radio equipment as the radio station was found broadcasting programmes by violating the Ministry’s order not air (BBC Nepali) on Sunday (Nov. 27).

Officials with the Radio Sagarmatha, however, said they did not receive any notification, in writing or over phone, from the Ministry in advance and that they had already discontinued the interview with Maoist chairman Prachanda.

Some two-dozen police personnel raided the radio station at Bakhundole, Lalitpur at around 9:15 p. m., seized radio equipment and arrested

The Supreme Court is also examining the case related to newly promulgated media ordinance and seizure of up linking equipment from Kantipur FM

Main while Police authorities on Monday freed all four journalists working at Radio Sagarmatha, who were arrested during a police raid at the FM station on Sunday night.

Journalists Dipak Babu Aryal, Punya Bhandari, Dipak Raj Pandey and Rajendra Rijal were released from the Lalitpur District Police Office (DPO) at around 12:30 p.m..

Authorities were compelled to free the journalists following intense pressure from national and international media rights groups and human rights organizations, they said.

Police officials had telephoned the FM officials this morning asking them to come to DPO and receive the journalists. Durga Karki, one of the five radio journalists arrested during the raid, was freed on Sunday night itself.

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