*The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), called today for a global solidarity campaign in favour of freedom of expression and communication rights of the Community and independent Radio Stations of Nepal.
"The international solidarity campaign calls for letters demanding the Government of Nepal, including the Royal Palace and the offices of Royal Nepal Army, to lift the ban on news and public affairs programs in radio.
The campaign also calls for increased exchanges between the Nepalese radios and the world-wide community radio network," declared Marcelo Solervicens, Secretary General of AMARC.
Until the Royal takeover of February 2005, the Nepalese Community radio stations served as an example in the struggle of radio practitioners against state monopoly of radio in South-Asia.
The ban on news and public affairs programs also affects community radio in their contribution to community empowerment, sustainable development, inclusiveness and poverty reduction. The ban on news and public affairs
programs leaves Nepalese listeners with the state radio as the only source of radio information as even the popular BBC news, an integral part of the radio spectrum in Nepal, is being blocked.
The campaign is part of the international support activities to media organisations in Nepal that followed the International Advocacy Mission for Press Freedom in Nepal held between 10 and 16 of July 2005. This International Mission was carried out by twelve leading international organisations including UNESCO, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), ARTICLE 19, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Media Support (IMS), International Press Institute (IPI), South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), World Association of Newspapers (WAN), World Press Freedom (WPF), and Press Institute of India (PII).
In the final statement ( http://www.amarc.org) the International Organisations "Clearly note the fact that FM and community radio stations in many countries around the world do indeed broadcast news and that radio stations in Nepal should not be prevented from broadcasting news in compliance with the constitution, Supreme Court decision and national legislation".
The International mission also reported harassment and intimidation of printed media and of community and independent radios and expressed awareness that all combatants in the conflict have been responsible for abusing and contravening press freedom and freedom of expression.
*For further information, please contact: *
AMARC, International Secretariat
705 Bourget Street, Suite 100
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H4C 2M6
Tel : +1-514-982-0351
Fax : +1-514 849-7129
email: amarc (at) amarc.org
AMARC & CMA