UNESCO DirectorGeneral deplores new press restrictions in Nepal

An ordinance issued on 9 October tightens previous controls ordered after the Government was dismissed in February and a state of emergency declared.At the time, media outlets were closed or taken over by the armed forces, critical reports were banned and journalists were arrested. “All of these acts represent attacks on the independence of the media, and therefore on democratic progress,” Mr. Matsuura pointed out today. “The new curbs on media rights contained in this ordinance would indicate that the situation is getting worse.”The UNESCO chief appealed to the Nepalese authorities to reconsider their action. “At a time when the planning of democratic elections has been announced in Nepal, legislation that justifies censorship and curtails the ability of media professionals to do their job can only appear to be incompatible with a free and open electoral process.”He said a reconsideration of the ordinance by Nepal would signal respect for free, pluralistic and independent media, which are indispensable conditions for democracy and good governance.

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