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Nepal MSOs decide not to telecast Indian news channels

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on July 10, 2020 Published on July 10, 2020

Neighbour upset after news outlets beam ‘salacious’ reports of Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli and Chinese envoy Hou Yanqi

Nepal’s cable television operators have ‘banished’ India news channels — except Doordarshan — evidently incensed by the tone of recent coverage of Nepal, particularly after strains in the country’s relations with India.

In particular, media reports say, the Indian news channels’ reports on the high-profile meetings that the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi, with top Nepalese leaders may have triggered the unofficial ‘ban’.

According to a report in The Hindustan Times, Nepal’s Ambassador to India, had even raised the issue of the Indian news channels’ coverage of Nepal with the External Affairs Ministry.

Following this, multi-system operators (MSOs), including Mega Max, Dishome, My TV, and DSN have taken a decision to not telecast Indian news channels in Nepal beginning from Thursday.

The Hindustan Times quoted Dhruv Sharma, vice-president of Mega Max TV cable network, as saying that Indian channels had put out “exaggerated and uncontrolled propaganda” about Nepal. In particular, the borderline salacious reports about meetings between Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the Chinese Ambassador may have rankled with the Nepalese leadership.

At least one top ruling party official in Nepal took to Twitter to criticise the Indian media coverage. Rajan Bhattarai, a senior leader in the ruling Nepal Communist Party, noted: “The news coming from Indian media against our PM and government after publication of new Map is condemnable. We completely reject their fabricated & fake reports. We urge them to respect the Nepali government & people’s unified position on our sovereignty & national independence.”

Bhattarai’s views acquire significance because he is considered an advisor to Prime Minister Oli on foreign policy issues.

Other government authorities too spoke up against the Indian news channels’ coverage of Nepal.

Information Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada told mediapersons that the Nepal government reserved the right to resort to political and legal measures against Indian channels if they peddled misinformation that tarnished Nepal’s sovereignty and sense of self-respect.

Ties between the two Himalayan neighbours have in recent weeks been strained. In response to India’s construction activities in border areas, Nepal released a map claiming a part of India’s Uttarakhand as its own.

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Published on July 10, 2020
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