Kathmandu, January 15:

The Save Independent Radio Movement (SIRM), a movement aimed at protecting FM radio stations from suppression, today condemned the government’s plan to introduce an “undemocratic” ordinance on forming a Broadcasting Authority.

Issuing a press statement, SIRM said that the proposed unreasonable hike in the licence and renew fees of radios would go to make the survival of FM stations impossible.

According to the FM freedom activists, the government is mulling an ordinance that will be promulgated soon . Acording to the stipulations of the ordinance, there is going to be a five-member board that would hike the licence and licence-renewal fee 20-fold. According to the FM freedom activists, the ordinance will be promulgated “immediately”.

The activists said the ministry suddenly called three FM-related NGOs on Friday for a meeting. The government officials also misbehaved with them, alleged the activists.

Mahendra Bista, general secretary of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, said, “The plan to promulgate a Broadcasting Authority ordinance is a new invitation for us to raise another series of protests against this autocratic regime.”

Binod Dhungel, news editor of Nepal FM, said that this was a fresh step by the government to quell free press.

On the other hand, the spokesperson to Ministry of Communication and Information Ratna Raj Pandey said that the ministry invited the representatives of the organisations for a discussion on Friday but they” refused to listen to us”.