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Nepal government closes down radio station, arrests journalists

November 28, 2005 08:58 IST
Nepal police seized equipment from a radio station late Sunday night and arrested four journalists and a technician to stop the broadcast of an interview with top Maoist leader Prachanda, reports said.

A two-member police team raided the Radio Sagarmatha staion and seized transmission equipment and also arrested four journalists and a technician – Durga Karki, Dipak Bahadur Aryal, Dipak Raj Pandey and Punya Bhandari and Rajendra Rijal, the Kantipur Online reported.

Durga Karki, a woman, was later released.

The policemen left two separate letters from the Ministry of Information and Communications at the radio station, one asking the station to stop operation until further notice and the other asking to handover transmission equipment, the report said.

"It is learnt that the government raided Radio Sagarmatha for attempting to carry a BBC Nepali service relay broadcast that included the interview of Maoist leader Pushpa Kumar Dahal aias Pranchanda."

The interview with Prachanda dealt with the recent understanding between the politial parties and Maoist ultras to work towards the resolution of the conflict in the country, the report said.

Condemning the police action, chairman of the radio station, Laxman Upreti in a statement said, "Nepal has been the South Asian country pioneering the role of FM radio in informing the public and Radio Sagarmatha has been the vanguard of this movement. The action by the government is a dagger to the heart of our radio revolution."

Also read: Media censorship in Nepal

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