Islamophobia: Nepal ban airing of Indian news

by Akeem Alao
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Nepal’s cable and satellite television providers have stopped airing Indian news channels.

An operator stated on Friday July 10, 2020, that the move was in response to public complaints against “objectionable” content broadcast about Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

The Indian channels went blank late on Thursday, days after one report on Zee News suggested Oli had close ties with the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, who has been meeting several leaders of Oli’s Nepal Communist Party.

“We felt a moral responsibility to block the channels after they aired objectionable content about our country,” Max Digital TV vice chairman Dhurba Sharma said.

Dish Media Network managing director Sudeep Acharya said his company pulled the channels after complaints from viewers.

Nepal’s Finance Minister, Yubaraj Khatiwada, earlier condemned the broadcast for “character assassination”.

“We request all media, including those of our neighbouring country, to not broadcast news that damages our country’s image,” he told a press briefing.

The Kathmandu Post in a strongly-worded editorial on Friday accused Indian news channels of coming up with a “new – and invariably false – propaganda against Oli”.

“Sitting in their Delhi or Mumbai studios, they do not hesitate to announce the date and time of Oli’s resignation, some of them even asking him to step down.

“Oli, it seems, is the new enemy they must fight each day to garner higher television rating points for themselves,” the editorial said.

Indian TV channels have also been accused of pushing Islamophobic and anti-Muslim views in Nepal, a country with 4 percent Muslims, using the coronavirus pandemic to cause unrest and backlash against the minority community.

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