Nepal cable TV operators stop airing Indian news channels

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal’s cable and satellite television providers have stopped airing Indian news channels, with one operator saying Friday that the move was in response to public complaints over coverage of Nepal's prime minister.

Sudeep Acharya, managing director of satellite television provider Dish Home, said they stopped airing the Indian news channels Thursday night after they were flooded with complaints about news reports about Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli.

Acharya said there was no government order to stop airing the channels, adding that the decision was made after discussions between cable and satellite television providers. It was not decided for how long they planned to stop airing the channels.

Some of the Indian media reports have suggested Oli is a puppet of the Chinese government. One recent report on Indian channel Zee news suggested Oli had close ties with the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, who has been meeting several leaders of Oli's Nepal Communist Party.

Nepal's government has condemned the reports.

“The government condemns any media content that assassinates the character of any person, spreads hatred and disregards the respect and honor of the individual concerned," Nepal's Information Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwad said Thursday.

Oli has been a target of both Indian leadership and media since his government brought out a new map of the country that includes territories claimed by both India and Nepal. The new map has strained relations between two South Asian nations with exchanges of strong statements.

Kathmandu’s relations with New Delhi worsened after Oli said last week in an internal party meeting that India was attempting to oust him from office with help from some of the members of his own party.

India had been a dominant force in Nepal until recently, when China’s involvement began to grow. Besides China’s investment in the building of airports, highways and hydro-power projects in Nepal, Chinese diplomats have worked to increase ties with Nepali political leaders.

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This story has been corrected to show that the government condemned content that assassinates the “character” of any person, not the “charter.”