TV channel reporter’s Maoist links: Nepal army

IN Media Practice | 11/05/2005
The video the army played portrayed the Nepal1 reporter as being in the know about the ambush, and even pointing out the arrival of the three army vehicles to the gun-wielding Maoists.


Indo-Asian News Service



Sudeshna Sarkar


Kathmandu, (IANS) A Nepalese reporter employed by prominent Indian mediaperson Nalini Singh has links with Maoists and violated journalistic ethics, the army said on May 6.

The Royal Nepalese Army held a press briefing where a video clipping said to have been recorded by Nepal1, the TV channel owned by Singh`s Delhi-headquartered TV Live company, was shown.

Nepal1, a news and entertainment channel in the Nepalese language, started broadcasting in 2003. Though intended for the Nepalese diaspora worldwide, its prime target till date had been viewers in

However, the channel ruffled the feathers of the army after it reported a Maoist ambush of security personnel in central
Nepal in November last year.

The guerrillas had called a shutdown in Dhading district, northwest of
Kathmandu, and booby-trapped the highway. When the army sent personnel to clear the road, at least one vehicle was blown up. Four soldiers were killed and one was allowed to return unharmed.

Singh`s channel had covered the ambush graphically and highlighted the release of the lone soldier while ignoring the killing of the three, the army said.

The video it played portrayed the Nepal1 reporter as being in the know about the ambush, being present on the spot while it occurred and even pointing out the arrival of the three army vehicles to the gun-wielding Maoists.

The unidentified reporter, described as a Nepalese from Dhading, was questioned after the video was aired, but subsequently released, the army said.

"But in view of other incriminating photographs acquired Thursday, we are likely to start proceedings against him," brigadier general Dipak Gurung, spokesman of the army, said. "You can see the reporter`s involvement in the ambush. That calls for action. So we are looking into it."

Gurung said the army had come across photographs showing the soldiers were alive after being captured. They were all unarmed and one photograph showed a soldier with his arms raised in the classic pose of surrender. "This is definitely a violation of humanitarian laws and we are going to take this up at the International Court of Justice," he said.

The Maoists had recently called for the formation of an international commission to look into over 30 deaths in Kapilavastu in southern
Nepal after clashes with armed vigilante groups, who the rebels say are supported by the state.

Nepal1, with other Indian news channels, was taken off the air after king Gyanendra sacked the government Feb 1 and imposed an emergency with media censorship.

Though the emergency was lifted last week, Nepal1 remains unavailable in the country. The channel`s reporters based in
Kathmandu are no longer welcome at certain government programmes.

But Gurung said the army had no quarrel with Nepal1. "We object only to the activities of the reporter since he overstepped journalism," he said.
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