Nepal lifts ban on Indian news channels

MUMBAI: The Nepalese government has lifted the ban on Indian news channels. The government took the decision in a cabinet meeting held on 8 June and the order was activated on 12 June.

Following the order, cable networks have now switched on news channels including Aaj Tak, Star News and Zee News.

The ban was imposed after the 1 February royal takeover by King Gyanendra. Apart from firing the government, the King had suspended civil liberties, blocked the country's communication systems including internet and telephone and barred cable operators from airing Indian news channels. But the ban hadn't affected international news channels including the BBC and CNN.

The King had justified his action by stating that the move was to crush an anti-monarchy Maoist revolt which has claimed almost 12,000 lives since 1996. Though India had appealed King Gyanendra to re-consider his decision earlier, it dropped the demand during a meeting between the King and prime minister Manmohan Singh in Jakarta in April.

Though the Nepal government's decision comes as a relief for Indian news channels, another neighboring country Bhutan is still continuing its apathy towards Indian media. Last month, the Bhutan government had blocked some of the Indian news and regional channels on grounds that they have a "bad social and cultural" influence on its citizens. Networks including Aaj Tak and Sun are affected by the ban.


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