The Southasia Trust has announced suspension of publication of Himal Southasian due to what it says “non-cooperation by regulatory state agencies in Nepal” that has made it impossible to continue operations.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Trust said its Executive Board on August 22 took the decision to shut down the publication of the pioneering magazine promoting “cross-border journalism” in the region after 29 years of publication.
“Reflecting the trend in other parts of South Asia 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,” reads the statement.
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, the statement further reads.
Grants meant for Himal were not approved for seven months without any notification, obtaining work permits for non-Nepali editorial staff became impossible, and there were unreasonable delays in processing payments for international contributors, the Trust laments in its statement.
“Our dwindling workforce tried to overcome these and other challenges and continued production in print despite repeated challenges over the past three years despite political attack in Parliament and escalating targeting of its Chairman and Himal's founding editor Kanak Mani Dixit, but in the end suspension was the only option,” the statement adds.
The Trust said it will continue to publish till November 2016 and meet all its outstanding obligations before suspension of operations. The Trust added that it will resume publication when circumstances in Nepal (or elsewhere) make it possible.