Bangladesh censors Nepal magazine
May 18, 2007 - 3:01:38 PM

Kathmandu, May 18 - Having survived an autocratic regime on its own soil and threats by Maoist guerrillas, Nepal's media now faces a new foe - the caretaker government of its neighbour Bangladesh.

A Nepali magazine, distributed in South Asian countries, had its recent issue censored by Dhaka that ordered the distributors of the publication to remove two articles on the current political turmoil in Bangladesh.

The May issue of Himal Southasian magazine, published from Kathmandu, fell foul of the Bangladesh authorities for carrying an editorial that said the Islamic country was under a military regime as also for an analysis by an anonymous writer of the caretaker government's actions.

The editorial 'Khaki politics in Dhaka' and analytical report 'The Dhaka Regime's Messy Surgery' hold the Bangladesh army responsible for derailing the democratic process and criticise the manoeuvres to send former prime ministers Begum Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina Wajed into exile as having long-term effects on democracy.

The articles also draw parallels between Bangladesh and past situations in Nepal, India and Pakistan, saying 'technocratic solutions, backed by the military baton, are almost always unstable, besides being inherently illiberal'.

While the May issue did not create any ripples in Nepal, it caused a furore in Bangladesh, with the authorities asking the distributor of the magazine to remove the offending articles.

The editors said they regretted the action by Dhaka.

'We regret this course more so because the Bangladeshi press continues to carry independent pieces much like the one carried by Himal,' Himal Southasia said in a press note.

'We would also like to alert readers that the cover feature of the upcoming June 2007 issue of Himal will address the ongoing political experimentation in Bangladesh.'

In the past, Dhaka had banned the sale of an Indian magazine.

'Desh', a socio-cultural magazine published from Kolkata, was banned after an issue referred to Bangladesh as the 'so-called republic'.

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