The director of a banned radio production and distribution company filed a legal challenge with Nepal's Supreme Court, inspiring local radio journalists to protest.
In his May 30 petition to the court, Communication Corner Director Gopal Guragain said that the government's May 27 ban was an illegal effort to curtail press freedom in Nepal. Guragain asked the court to issue a stay that would allow the company to continue to operate legally, Nepalnews.com reported.
The Supreme Court responded on June 1, requesting the government provide a written explanation within 15 days for its order to shut down Communication Corner. The court also asked that representatives from the Ministry of Information and Communication (MOIC) and the Ministry of Defense appear in court tomorrow, the daily Kantipur reported.
The MOIC ordered the private company's closure on May 27 citing "written complaints that it is being operated illegally," according to local news reports.
Guragain defied the government order, saying that the company had not broken any laws, that its license and taxes were all in order, and that he would keep the company open. Founded five years ago, Communication Corner produces daily radio news programming for over 10 FM radio stations throughout Nepal, including news bulletins and current affairs programs.
Local journalists unified in support of the station. On June 1, a coalition of radio journalists calling themselves the Save Independent Radio Movement mailed an old radio and a copy of Nepal's constitution to Information Minister Tanka Dahal in protest, according to The Associated Press. The act came on the fourth of seven days of planned demonstrations by the group, calling for an end to the ban and to media restrictions.