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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 12:05 GMT
Nepalese court lifts FM news ban
By Sushil Sharma
BBC News, Kathmandu

A riot policeman detains a journalist protesting against Nepal's King Gyanendra in Kathmandu in September 2005
Journalists have regularly protested against media curbs
Nepal's Supreme Court has ruled that FM radio stations in the kingdom may once again broadcast news.

Two judges issued the interim order ahead of a final verdict in the case.

FM stations were banned from running news under a controversial media law introduced last month, following the king's seizure of power in February.

The authorities accuse FM stations of encouraging a Maoist revolt and have raided two popular radio stations for allegedly breaking the new law.

Critics

More than 40 FM stations operate across Nepal.

They are a major source of independent news in the country where more than a third of the population is illiterate.

A number of separate petitions against the controversial media law are still pending with the court.

Besides banning news broadcasts on independent FM radio, the law also outlaws criticism of the king and royal family, with increased penalties for defamation.

The law has been widely attacked at home and abroad - critics say it is aimed at stifling the independent media.

The authorities deny the allegation, saying the law is aimed at making journalism dignified and responsible.


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