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Nepal cable operators ban Indian news after border dispute

July 10, 2020

Nepal’s cable television operators have suspended Indian news channels for “objectionable” reporting on the country’s prime minister as tensions between the neighbours rise over a border dispute.

The countries have been wrangling since India opened a new road to the disputed Lipu Lekh pass on their border in May.

The Indian channels went blank late on Thursday, days after the Zee Hindustan news channel aired a report that said a relationship between China’s ambassador and Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli had caused the dispute with India.

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

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

Government 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.

Indian army chief General M.M. Naravane sparked anger last month after suggesting Nepal’s conflict with India over their shared frontier might have been “at the behest of someone else”, hinting at China’s involvement in the dispute.

New Delhi and Beijing have been locked in their own frontier stand-off.

A deadly high-altitude Himalayan border clash between the world’s two most populous nations last month claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers.

Both sides blamed each other for the incident and sent thousands of extra troops to the region.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.