This is a discussion on Nepal lawyers to boycott court after media crackdown within the Entertainment forums, part of the Tour and Travels category; Nepal's lawyers will stage protests against the courts as three judges, including the chief justice, turned down an appeal for ...
Nepal's lawyers will stage protests against the courts as three judges, including the chief justice, turned down an appeal for help by private radio stations in the wake of the government crackdown on media.
The Nepal Bar Association (NBA), representing hundreds of practising lawyers countrywide, said it would boycott court proceedings all over the kingdom Wednesday.
A protest would be held at the Supreme Court here Sunday when lawyers stage an hour-long sit-in.
The lawyers' protests were triggered by a decision taken by Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and two more judges Friday that makes private radio stations vulnerable to closures by the government.
Kantipur FM, the biggest private radio station in the kingdom, had moved the court after security forces raided its office at midnight and confiscated broadcasting equipment and the government threatened it with closure for defying a new media ordinance that bans FM stations from broadcasting news.
The media ordinance had also been challenged by a group of nine professional organisations, including the NBA, and two lawyers.
Kantipur FM had asked the court to issue an interim order, asking the government not to take any action before the final verdict.
However, after a week's deliberations, the judges said while they would give priority to the case, there would be no interim order.
"The government can now immediately attack FMs," said Prateek Pradhan, editor of the Kathmandu Post, sister concern of Kantipur FM.
"The decision not to issue an interim order has seriously hurt the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights related to the freedom of expression," the NBA said in a statement.
"The chief justice and senior-most judges didn't protect the independent judiciary and constitutional supremacy and would be responsible for the consequences."
The Federation of Nepalese Journalists, the largest independent body of journalists, said the court order had shaken people's faith in the independence of the judiciary and announced it would start fresh protests for media freedom.
The new media ordinance prevents any criticism of the king or the royal family and bans an organisation from operating the print media and TV and radio channels simultaneously. It has been widely condemned by the international community, including India, the US and the European Union.