Govt moves SC to re-gag FM radio stations

Kathmandu, August 21:

The government today moved the Supreme Court seeking that the SC’s previous ruling allowing FM stations to broadcast news be vacated. The government has termed the SC’s 11-day stay order ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘illegal’. The SC issued the stay order on August 10 allowing FMs to air news responding to a writ petition filed by Bishnu Hari Dhakal, managing director of Rainbow FM Private Limited, which manages Nepal FM. Nepal FM had claimed that the Ministry of Information and Communication had violated Article 12(2) (a)(e), 13, 16 and 17 of the Constitution by issuing an ‘illegal order’ banning the FM from broadcasting news.

A single bench of Justice Anup Raj Sharma had halted the process initiated by the ministry to scrap Nepal FM’s licence. The ministry had said the FM was broadcasting news defying government directive. After the SC stay order, out of 47 FM stations, most of them have started airing news. Furnishing an application to vacate the stay order, the secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication, Lokman Singh Karki, urged the SC to scrap the stay order so that the censorship on the FM continues.