Ever since 1 February the government has gone out of its way to characterise the independent media as practising "yellow" or "irresponsible" journalism. It has used its own state-owned media for this slander campaign. It is not unusual for a regime that snatched away the constitution to be afraid of the light and to push the nation towards darkness. But by taking away the people's right to information the regime has isolated and weakened itself even more. It has a guilty conscience, which is why it labels the pro-democracy movement as "anti-national" and "terrorist" and characterises actions of friends of Nepali democracy abroad as "interference". A state media that is used to ostracising those who speak for the people's rights will itself be ostracised by civilised people. A free press has a vital role in a system of government run by the people's representatives. It is natural for those who disregard people power to try to control the press because an independent media strengthens the people's struggle. State media never tires of repeating the canard that "FM radios are not allowed to broadcast news anywhere in the world". Only the most rigid dictatorships misuse state media for propaganda and it is a direct abuse of state power. Officials of this regime are given to lashing out at public meetings against the independent media. They are intent on throttling the free press, demoralising professional journalists with threats, intimidation, locking up newspapers in the districts, launching an economic embargo on papers by stopping government notices, banning news on FM and ignoring the Supreme Court's rulings on the media. When their efforts to get the media to do as they say are unsuccessful, they turn the state media loose to label independent journalism "yellow". The media ordinance is just the latest example of the regime's extreme cowardice.
Nepali media has been forging ahead professionally and institutionally after earning the rights enshrined in the 1990 constitution, which itself was the result of the People's Movement. The present regime's crackdowns give the media more energy to resist. The media is responsible towards its readers, listeners and viewers. They will judge us because freedom of press is also their right under the 1990 constitution.