Private radio, television stations mushrooming in Nepal

Kathmandu, Jan 13: Despite political instability and economic slowdown in the country, the number of private radio and television stations has increased rapidly in Nepal, the ministry of information and communications said Monday.

According to the latest data of the ministry, a total of 515 individuals and organisations has received licences from the government to install and operate radio stations across the country, out of which more than 300 are private, Xinhua reported.

Similarly, a total of 58 people and institutions have received licences for private television channels and more than two dozen are in operation.

Before 1990, the government had a monopoly over radio and television, but the national broadcasting act promulgated in 1992 allowed the private sector to invest in the media sector.

Though the number of radio and television stations is increasing, there are often complaints about the government issuing licences without considering the feasibility and potential of the channels.

Media and communication experts argue that in a small country like Nepal, there is no need for a large number of media outlets.

Due to the economic slowdown in the country, the media sector is going through a financial crisis. Private radio and television are dependent on advertisements, but even though their numbers are on the rise, the country’s advertisement sector is declining because of political instability.

The government owns only one radio station (Radio Nepal) and a television station (Nepal Television), both dependent on government subsidies.