Nepal Media Solidarity Exemplary
Nepali media has never been allowed to remain free. Talks of freedom of expression, media freedom , independent media and that media was the fourth estate occasionally reverberate as and when some international donors make it a point on how to gag the government of the day to which this particular donor(s) possess disliking. The Nepali media men, save some kind souls, prefer not to raise the issue for fear of losing the party’s financial source and at times the fear is also driven by the fact that about ninety five percent of the media men were associated with one party or the other and thus it becomes the bounden duty of this special media to protect or to come to the rescue of the parties involved in crime against some media men.
This clear division on partisan lines among the Nepali media men and media houses have done more harm to the unity of the men engaged in this sector and has also concurrently hit the nation hard to an unimaginable extent.
The ugliest part of it all is that we the media men have yet to determine as to which were Nepal’s genuine national interests. The political parties have given us to understand that Nepal as a nation-state must not have a national policy to guide its national interests instead the Indian interest is complete and sufficient for us and nothing more than that.
Perverted brains here and there.
Our alien teachers and their local obedient students have been taught like this and thus to expect that the more or less politicized media would ever deter from this imposed understanding would be a self defeating exercise.
Media informs the citizenry. The partisan recipients take it as disinformation. It is this gap between information and disinformation, “to whom it may concern” that has created some sort of enmity in between the readers and the information providers.
The chaotic problem that has erupted in Biratnagar wherein one of our professional colleague, Khila Nath Dahal, was brutally attacked by some anti-social elements, supposedly backed by the UML party hooligans, as has reported, is mainly due to the open secret that information is being misinterpreted as disinformation and that to do away with this long standing anomaly, Nepal doesn’t possess any sort of Ombudsman.
Albeit we have Nepal Press Council which, say those who have gone deep inside the functioning of the said Council, is nothing more than the storage of media men who possess strong affiliations to this or that party.
Some modest souls too remain seated at the Council.
Thus to expect, once again, that such an overly politicized body will do justice to the victim would be an act of blunder which it should have been just the otherwise.
The International Federation of Journalists too is a partisan group which prefers to hush-hush the matter if the managers think that such minor events should not be taken care of. Albeit they wish to fly to several countries under this or that pretext. Money spinners. At best they will issue a press note and warn to do this or not to do that. Local marionettes galore. And this they have already done. Lip service.
Thus in a way, the politics has been criminalized and vice versa. So incidents wherein some genuine media men like Khila Nath Dahal and many more from this sector working across the country were being mercilessly beaten and at times killed, the Nepali authority is mute. The media observation that these ruffians enjoy political protection appears very close to the truth or else why the Minister of Information and Communications, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, have had to demand in advance the permission from the Prime Minister perhaps thinking that it would not be an act of wisdom to bring to book the person, Parsuram Basnet who led the team to pounce upon journalist Dahal was a UML man who is tentatively enjoying the full and unconditional protection from some UML upper echelons.
Mahara exposed the UML party this time.
Minister Mahara by seeking permission of the UML Chief who is also the Prime Minister of the country wanted in an oblique manner to prove that the UML party too was a party which nourished gangsters. He killed two birds with a single stone. The UML now stands exposed which was long overdue.
Having said all these, we appeal the parties not to get irritated by any news that may not be in their favor. Information is just information. This is the duty of the media men to bring it out caring little as to where the news hits hard.
In sum, we are pained to listen that our professional colleague has been thrashed by a UML cadre. We wish that the government assures the media men that henceforth no incidents as such will take place across the country and that the party hoodlums will be brought to book.
We wish for the speedy recovery of journo Dahal in Biratnagar and hope that the solidarity this time around that has been exhibited by the media men across the country will remain in place for a longer time to come. The solidarity must not be based on political considerations.
Solidarity which is based on political lines doesn’t last longer. It is a short lived one. Let it not be so in the days ahead. If today the media men in Biratnagar were in a terrified state then the same could shift to Kathmandu or even across the length and breadth of the country. Wisdom demands that the media should feel that they belonged to the same domain and have had a similar fate if and when such cowardly act of thrashing approaches them unfortunately. It is time to say good bye to partisan ideas but to think of collectively going together at least for the sake of survival.
Media solidaity this time has been an exemplary one. Keep it up dear colleagues.