Nepal bans screening of three Sri Lankan documentaries
IPI condemns freedom of expression violation
KATHMANDU, Oct 4, 2013 - The International Press Institute (IPI)’s Nepal National Committee today denounced a ban imposed on the screening of three Sri Lankan films at Film Southasia (FSA) 2013, a festival of South Asian documentaries currently taking place in Kathmandu.
Nepal's Ministry of Information and Communication reportedly ordered the organisers of FSA 2013 to remove from the schedule three films by Sri Lankan filmmakers: "Broken", "The Story of One" and "No Fire Zone". Representatives of the Ministry have not provided any explanation for the decision.
The organisers of the festival announced that all three of the banned documentaries will be shown off-site at a private screening.
"FSA protests this unwarranted intrusion into the cultural sphere, an action that goes against freedom of expression and the right of documentary filmmakers to exhibit their work," Kanak Mani Dixit, the chair of FSA, said in a press release. "This obstructs our festival’s goal of promoting regional understanding in South Asia."
The press release stated: "Protesting this action, the three films will be presented outside the festival venue at a 'private screening' … The documentaries in question will remain in competition for the festival awards."
A total of 55 films from South Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Afghanistan and Nepal have been selected for this year's festival out of 388 entries. FSA has been screening films in Kathmandu since 2007.
IPI Nepal National Committee General Secretary Taranath Dahal said that banning movies and documentaries contravenes international standards of freedom of expression, which includes the right to seek, receive and impart information.
"All censorship of creative works, in terms of content or technical processing, is unacceptable," he said, adding that the government’s move runs contrary to the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Nepalese law.
Dahal urged the government to refrain from banning the screening of artistic work without any explanation, adding: "I ask the government to abide by national laws as well as international treaties."
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IPI Nepal National Committee