World Association for Christian Communication
Just as blogger Salam Pax became a candid source of information deep inside Iraq as it came under attack, outwitting the strictest of controls on reporting, so Nepalis are blogging their way through Royal censorship and media restrictions.
A month into the coup that has imprisoned journalists and prohibited critical reporting of the takeover, King Gyanendra has now imposed a blanket ban on independent reporting on the Maoist insurgency. Journalists are now required to only use information from the army or police on security issues.
But gagging the media under the state of emergency has not been able to control bloggers, and news is pouring out about the situation the people of Nepal are suffering.
The Nepalese state has years of experience in blocking sites, many of them pro-maoist. Recently, however, even mainstream media has been blocked, such as NepaliPost.com and NewsLookMag.com. The new blogs which are flauting the new rules are becoming widely referenced across the internet by international organisations and press. Their content, critical of the human rights and freedom of expression violations being committed by the coup government, is being extensively reproduced. While the blogs themselves may eventually be blocked within the country, their content will still be available. And as people begin to search for reliable information, and in this it certainly looks like Nepal is following the pattern seen elsewhere, these blogs will become a very popular alternative to mainstream press.