Nepal's royal government says it will not agree to a ceasefire with Maoist rebels, despite pressure to match a truce called by the rebels.

An Information Ministry official, Shrish Shumsher Rana says the rebel ceasefire is for strategic purposes, and the government will not respond.

King Gyanendra fired the previous government February 1, saying it had failed to deal with an almost decade-old Maoist insurgency that has killed 12,000 people.

Since then, political parties have formed a loose alliance with the rebels, who have extended their unilateral cease-fire, declared in September, to the end of this year.

Meanwhile, a Geneva-based legal rights group says Nepal's crackdown on the media through a government ordinance issued in October is illegal and the law should be repealed immediately.

Under the ordinance, Nepal's security forces have raided radio stations, confiscated transmission equipment, imposed restrictions on news broadcasts, and harassed journalists.