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Nepal high court allows law restricting press freedoms

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Nepal [official website] has ruled to allow a law that prohibits criticism against the king and blocks private radio stations from broadcasting news programs. Last month, King Gyanendra [BBC profile] approved the ordinance [JURIST report] which authorizes imprisonment and higher fines against individuals who publish "banned items" and prohibits publication of stories that promote disrespect or hatred of the king. Lawyers for media groups petitioned the high court to stop the law's implementation [JURIST report] and even though the court's decision is not a final verdict, the groups are admitting defeat. A lawyer for Kantipur Publications [media website], the country's largest media group, said, "We have lost the case. Though the final decision is yet to come, it has little meaning." An editor for the Kantipur newspaper further said that protests would be the last resort for those opposed to the law. BBC News has more. Kantipur Online has local coverage.

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