In recognition of its outstanding contribution in defence of free speech and democracy, Radio Sagarmatha has been awarded the AMARC International Solidarity Prize 2006, the One World Broadcasting Trust's special award for an outstanding community media project.
The ten-year-old station (\'10 years on air,\' #339), Nepal's first community radio, defied the ban on free news and political shows after the 1 February 2005 royal takeover in innovative ways. First, it decided to defy the ban and began broadcasting news as 'haalchal', rather than 'samachar'. Threatened with closure if it did not stop (\'Nepali radio, Nepali awaj,\' Editorial, #275), Sagarmatha changed tactics and broadcast news items through songs and comedy. Radio stations around the country followed suit.
"The award was helpful in getting us recognised internationally," says station manager Mohan Bista. "This increases our responsibility to work for the freedom of press while continuing our community-oriented coverage."