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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 20:43 GMT
Nepal curbs reporting on rebels
By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kathmandu

Soldiers in Kathmandu
Censorship has been an integral part of the king's emergency
The authorities in Nepal have banned independent media coverage of the country's Maoist insurgency.

The move tightens censorship imposed a month ago after King Gyanendra staged a coup, imposed an emergency and appointed his own cabinet.

The information ministry notice says no media outlet will be allowed to publish news about the rebels unless they get the information from security forces.

The Maoists are fighting to replace the monarchy with a communist republic.

'Destructive activities'

Censorship has been an integral part of the king's emergency.

There is no longer any independent reporting on radio, while newspaper and television offices have had regular visits from military censors with warnings not to criticise the royal takeover.

The information ministry notice adds that if any information is obtained from the security forces, the sources must be named.

Maoist rebels
The Maoists have urged all "pro-people forces" to ally

The notice says that those defying the order will be penalised, but does not specify what measures will be taken.

The ministry says it is preventing journalism that, in its words, "directly or indirectly instigates or supports terrorist and destructive activities and terrorism".

The new rules mean, for instance, that Nepalese media will not be able to quote the regular statements issued by the Maoists.

Shortly before the rules were announced, newspaper editors were summoned before district authorities for the capital, Kathmandu.

Some were scolded for quoting a statement by the Maoists' leader last weekend which announced the lifting of the rebels' two-week blockade of the highways.

Editors were reportedly warned that their papers might even face closure if they broke the new rules.


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