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Concern over Nepal Army's Letter to Ban Screening of Badhshala Film

Yet again, the Nepal Army Headquarters has written to the Ministry of Information and Communications urging it to ban the screening of a fact-based Nepali film, Badhshala.

Freedom Forum is deeply concerned over the NA's efforts to ban the screening of the feature film.

Merely with the reason that the film would impact negatively on people, the NA has made such urge to the Ministry which is against the existing laws on freedom of expression, Interim Constitution, and the Right to Information Act.

The government led by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal Maoist (UCPN-Maoist) has time and again emerged hostile to media freedom and freedom of expression. The NA's attempt of late to ban the film is therefore a latest series of the suppression of freedom of speech and expression.

"The NA's letter violates the people's right to freedom of expression, and right to information. Mere reason of the use of Army uniform in the film is not logical enough to ban the screening. It is a suppressive move of the NA," said Taranath Dahal, Chairperson of the Freedom Forum.

Earlier too, the Communications Ministry on January 18, 2013 had written to the Film Development Board asking it not to provide screening license to the Badhshala film merely on the ground that a uniform of Nepal army was used in the film.

It is worth noting here that the Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: 
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Talking to Freedom Forum, Film Director Manoj Pandit said he had now no option but to knock door of the Supreme Court.

Lately, Nepali film industry has witnessed the production of fact-based films depicting national political problems and human rights violation. But NA's attempt to ban the screening of such film has grossly violated the freedom of expression thereby challenging the democratic norms and values.

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