[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 17:36 GMT
Media divisions on Nepal crisis
A Nepalese riot policeman asks Kathmandu residents to disperse
Nepal's papers are under state control
The press in Nepal and its neighbour India are covering the political crisis in the Himalayan mountain kingdom in starkly different ways after King Gyanendra imposed media censorship on his homeland.

Nepal's usually lively newspapers have largely become information sheets, in marked contrast to India, where commentators have condemned the king for sacking the prime minister and taking over the government.

Many Indian commentators are also scathing in their assessment of how Delhi is handling the crisis.

In Nepal, the Kathmandu Post, Himalayan Times and the state-run Rising Nepal, all English-language dailies, each give a lengthy account of the king's takeover.

Long live the monarchy, we are with you
Advert in Rising Nepal

Two provide the full text of his proclamation, in which he sacked the government and assumed state control. Pictures of the king making the announcement on TV are shown.

All three papers list the constitutional rights that have been suspended, including freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, but the tones of their headlines are neutral.

"His Majesty Dissolves Deuba government," says Rising Nepal. "Deuba cabinet dismissed, king takes charge," says the Himalayan Times, a leading privately-owned newspaper.

A press transformed

Only Rising Nepal actually comments on the takeover, in a front-page special editorial which backs the king's position.

The paper also carries a large front-page advertisement from a country club in eastern Nepal that says "long live the monarchy, we are with you" beside a picture of a smiling King Gyanendra.

He has plunged his country into a political freefall of the kind he will find very hard to control or reverse
India's The Hindu

The papers also report that people have been organising rallies in support of the king.

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu notes this is not the usual tone of Nepalese journalism.

But Rising Nepal does carry some livelier snippets in a column called Newsroom Chatter.

In an apparent jibe at top Nepalis, a journalist identified by his initials remarks that reporters are always in a difficult position because if they try to tackle an influential leader or businessman, they will suffer.

"Talk about a shady deal and there you are scampering for your life, instead of the target," he says.

Targeting Delhi

In India, The Hindu accuses King Gyanendra of acting with "reckless deliberation".

"He has not only acted against the spirit of Nepal's system of constitutional monarchy. He has... plunged his country into a political freefall of the kind he will find very hard to control or reverse."

The daily also criticises Delhi's decision to sell arms to the Nepalese military which "was seen as tacit endorsement of the king's authoritarian ways".

The Indian Express condemns the government in Delhi for "cluelessness".

The Indian government should play a decisive role in restoring democracy in Nepal
India's Dainik Bhaska

"The government of India allowed itself to be taken by surprise once again. India has not had the courage to lean hard enough on the monarchy in order to make Nepal genuinely more democratic."

The Times of India is also unhappy about the sale of weapons to Kathmandu.

"It would be advisable for Delhi not to compound the problem by extending military assistance to the Royal Nepal Army as it is doing now.

"India must counsel caution and press for an inclusive political solution," The Times of India concludes .

Jaipur's Dainik Bhaskar says there are direct links between leftist rebels in India and Maoist insurgents in Nepal.

"It is quite natural for India to be concerned about the events in Nepal... the Indian government should play a decisive role in restoring democracy in Nepal and dealing with the tide of insurgency," the major-circulation Hindi-language daily says.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific