High-handed governments

Published: Saturday 31 December 2005

Broadcasting Libya/Nepal

The Libyan government has jammed two international satellites knocking off air dozens of tv and radio stations serving Europe and the us. Among stations hit were digital broadcasts by bbc World, and cnn International. The jamming started after the launch in London of a small British and Arab-owned commercial radio station broadcasting on human rights issues in Libya.

Closer home, the Nepalese government closed down Radio Sagarmatha, the first community radio in South Asia. Sagarmatha's management immediately appealed to Nepal's Supreme Court against the closure, and in interim court order allowed Radio Sagarmatha to continue broadcasting. The court's final judgment is awaited.

The reason for the government's recent displeasure towards Sagarmtha was its "attempt to carry a bbc Nepali service relay broadcast that included an interview of Maoist leader, Prachanda". Though Sagarmatha, did not carry the interview, eventually, Nepal's government accused it of "airing programmes that encourage terrorists".

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