Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Radio raid

Radio Sagarmatha is the latest victim of state terror, after Kantipur FM. By attacking the only community radio in South Asia and arresting five employees from the station, the government has challenged Nepal's journalism and democratic communities. In the same way that Radio Sagarmatha was attacked, the state raided Kantipur FM on 21 October and seized its equipment, which is yet been returned. After those attacks, civil society and journalists joined hands to protest against state terror and the government moved further away from the people. We understood these raids as not just attacks on the stations but on the entire journalism community, listeners and all Nepalis. The attack on Radio Sagarmatha has proven this analysis. The lawsuits against the state's attack on the FM stations and the illegal Media Ordinance are still awaiting consideration at the Supreme Court. We are all aware of the Nepal Bar Association's decision to boycott the jury in protest of the Supreme Court refusing to issue an interim order on the writ against the Ordinance. However, the agreement between the Bar and the Supreme Court, wherein the former agreed to cease its protest and the latter promised to abide by the law, has also rendered the Court's unwillingness to grant an interim order more controversial. The government attacked Radio Sagarmatha with the excuse that the Supreme Court is yet to issue an interim order. These attacks help us understand the mindsets of the people who run the state today. Although Maoist leader Prachanda's interview had not been broadcast by Radio Sagarmatha, the government used that as an excuse to attack it. This proves that those at the policy making level are blabbering without intelligence and knowledge. The unique way in which those in the media and the rest of Nepal have come together to protest these attacks on media houses is commendable. The way in which Nepalis gathered in the middle of the night to protest the attacks proves that the media enjoys strong support. And the positive response of Nepali civil society and the international community proves the Nepali media is not alone and is heading in the right direction. The government understands this and is often threatened by our strength. It does not want a free press, it wants a propaganda machine. Therefore, to protest this thinking and future acts of terror by the government is the responsibility not just of the journalism community but also of civil society, the democratic community and every individual.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)