In a major setback for ‘cross border journalism’ in South Asia, Kathmandu based magazine, Himal Southasian announced that it will suspend its publication by November 2016. Himal Southasian declared on Tuesday that it will meet all its outstanding obligations before its suspension.
The reason for its suspension is the non-cooperation by regulatory state agencies in Nepal that had made it impossible for the publication to continue operations after 29 years of publication.
Unlike other parts of Southasia, Himal is being silenced not by direct attack or overt censorship but by the use of arms of bureaucracy that paralysed its functioning.
Though Nepal has been a leader of free press since the introduction of democracy in 1990, continuous socio-political chaos over two decades has progressively weakened the commitment of the political class to an open society.
With no notification or explanation, grants meant for Himal were not approved over seven months of waiting, obtaining work permits for non-Nepali editorial staff became impossible, and there were unreasonable delays in processing payments for international contributors.
“Our dwindling workforce tried to overcome these and other challenges, but in the end suspension was the only option,” they announced.
The news of the suspension was not taken well by the followers of the magazine and they took to Twitter to express their despair. Many bloggers and writers recalled their experiences with the publication and expressed their despondency at the publication being “silenced” by the bureaucracy.
Here’s how people thought that the “voice of sanity” has become a victim of vicious political forces.