India-Nepal ties have been somewhat strained in recent times. From passing a constitutional amendment to redraw the national borders, to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli obliquely alleging that India was playing a role in efforts to unseat him -- ties with the neighbouring country has not been in the best of states.
Against this backdrop, on Thursday, reports came in suggesting that signal for Indian news channels have been switched off in Nepal. News agency ANI quoted Nepali cable TV providers to report that signals for Indian news channels have been switched off in the country.
This was then confirmed by Nepal's information and broadcasting Minister Yuba Raj Khativada. As per a tweet shared by India Today Editor Geeta Mohan, Khativada has announced that all Indian news channels except Doordharshan are now banned in Nepal. The order goes into effect from today evening.
Reportedly the decision has come after certain channels indulged in character assassination of leaders.
In recent times, there have been several incidents that have strained the relationship between the two countries. India considers Nepal's redrawing of its political map to incorporate three strategically important Indian areas as being an "artificial enlargement". India has called the incorporation of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura "untenable".
There had also been an incident at the border wherein one person from Bihar had been killed and two others injured after a confrontation with the Nepal police took a violent turn. While borders have been closed amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Indians had been visiting family across the border.
More recently, Nepal had allegedly stopped all repair work of river embankments in Bihar along the India-Nepal border, by erecting barriers and effectively putting a stop to work done by India to prevent flooding of its low-lying areas. The allegations had been made by the Bihar government.
Incidentally, many on social media platforms have also criticised media coverage of Nepal and its leaders in recent days. On Thursday evening Kamal Thapa, the Chairman of Nepal's Rastriya Prajatantra Party, took to Twitter to criticise the same.
Sharing screengrabs of a caricature of Prime Minister Oli that was posted by a publication, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal wrote that while he and his party had had differences with the PM, this was a tad unnecessary.
"We have serious differences with PM @kpsharmaoli on many issues, including his conduct of international relations. But deliberate/sustained campaign of mudslinging against PM Oli by some Indian media cannot be acceptable.That doesn't do Nepal-India relations any good," he wrote.