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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 November 2005, 11:13 GMT
Nepal protests against media law
Journalists protest in Kathmandu
Journalists say they are now left with only street protests
Nearly 2,000 people have staged demonstrations in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, to protest against a controversial new media law.

The protests came after Nepal's Supreme Court's refusal to block the law that bans criticism of the king and private radio stations from broadcasting news.

The ruling clears the way for the government to impose the law.

The legislation comes nine months after King Gyanendra seized direct control of the government.

Critics say the law imposes severe curbs on the press but the authorities say they are not stifling the media.

Representatives of media associations and civil rights groups along with other professionals participated in Sunday's demonstrations.

They chanted slogans against the media law and demanded its cancellation.

The protests had been planned before the Supreme Court's decision on Friday.


Organisers said the verdict led to greater participation of media associations and civil society groups in the protests.

Several associations of journalists and human rights group on Saturday requested the United Nations to protect the media community.

King Gyanendra assumed direct power in February saying politicians had failed to tackle the nation's Maoist rebels.

Correspondents say Nepal's independent media have been vibrant since the establishment of a multi-party democracy 15 years ago.

But lawyers for media groups who brought the petition to the Supreme Court seeking the deferral now admit defeat.

Analysts say part of the king's agenda since his takeover has been to crack down on dissent in order, the authorities say, to quell the Maoist insurgency.

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