Announcement

Himal Southasian to suspend publication

By himalsouthasian

24 August 2016

Himal Southasian will continue to publish till November 2016 and meet all its outstanding obligations before suspension of operations.

The Southasia Trust regrets to announce the suspension of publication of Himal Southasian, the pioneering magazine promoting ‘cross-border journalism’ in the region. A decision to this effect was taken by the Trust’s Executive Board on 22 August, due to non-cooperation by regulatory state agencies in Nepal that has made it impossible to continue operations after 29 years of publication.

Reflecting the trend in other parts of Southasia in terms of independent media and civil society organisations, Himal is being silenced not by direct attack or overt censorship but the use of the arms of bureaucracy to paralyse 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 open society.

Relying as it does on external funding support, Himal’s publisher The Southasia Trust has adhered to the strict regimen of rules and regulations that govern its day-to-day functioning. Government officials in the various regulatory departments privately admit that the Trust has been in full compliance but regret their inability to process papers due to “pressures”, citing powerful state entities who they refuse to name for the record.

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.

The decision to suspend publication was not sudden. We continued in the production of high quality journalism in print and on the web despite repeated challenges over the past three years. We persevered through the repercussions of the political attack on Himal in Parliament in April 2014, as well as the escalating targeting of Kanak Mani Dixit, Himal’s founding editor and Trust chairman over the past year.

Himal Southasian will continue to publish till November 2016 and meet all its outstanding obligations before suspension of operations. The editor Aunohita Mojumdar and her team remain committed to independent journalism and Himal will resume publication when circumstances in Nepal (or elsewhere) make it possible. We will keep our subscribers as well as the larger public informed about developments through notices at www.himalmag.com.

Signed: S. Mishra, Member-Secretary, for The Southasia Trust Executive Board

(Himal started publication in 1987 as a Himalayan journal and converted to a Southasian magazine in 1996. The Southasia Trust is a non- profit entity registered in Lalitpur, Nepal.)

Enquiries: Phone: + 977-1-5552141, email: [email protected]

5 Responses to “Himal Southasian to suspend publication”

  1. Rohit says:

    They allow foreign-owned media to operate in Kathmandu, without regulatory provisions and appropriate licencing. And they slash a small local effort by a group of Nepalese promoting regional peace and harmony. Nepali leaders have their mind filled with s***. No wonder the country is going downhill. They never know how to get their priorities right.

  2. Boz Baral says:

    Wow! Pleased to learn that Nepal, until now, had by far the best press freedom environment in Southasia; hence Himal‘s presence there. In the context of payment etc. almost every country in the world is now required to adhere to anti-money laundering regulations and Nepal is no exception to this. If you adhere to the international and country’s anti-money laundering regulations and work-permit requirements, I feel that there should be very little financial irregularities and immigration issues and you could continue with the operation. If this doesn’t work, then as a reputed magazine, you could name and shame the culprits. I don’t wish Himal to vanish but I don’t want Himal to be involved in any corrupt practices taking advantage of the corrupt environment in this poorest of countries.

  3. Dear Friends,

    As an ardent admirer and follower of HIMAL since the early 1990s, I am pained and shocked to hear the news of its possible closure.

    HIMAL is a most valuable and seminal journal for the whole of Southasia. If there is anything we at Katha can do, anything at all, do let us know.

    Warmly,
    Geeta

    ————————–
    Geeta Dharmarajan
    Katha
    New Delhi

  4. Sanjay says:

    I am not a regular reader but I thoroughly enjoyed it whenever I bought it for read from a round shaped roadside stall at cannaught place, Delhi. Definitely, will miss it. Thanks for providing great reportage for a young reader like me though we need much more but Thanks for the great work !

  5. Himadri says:

    This is very shocking and sorrowful incident happened. Freedom of speech greatly hampered. Hope government of Nepal will realise the necessity of Himal Southasian magazine and do the needful at a result it would come back with a bang.

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