UWB! in American Journalism Review

In April/May Issue of American Journalism Review, senior writer Sherry Ricchiardi has wrote an article titled ‘Online Opposition‘ entirely devoted to how United We Blog! leading the fight for democracy in Nepal.

She has quoted, co-founder Dinesh Wagle and blogger Guna Raj Luitel in her article. Have a read.

3 thoughts on “UWB! in American Journalism Review”

  1. Lop-sided report

    The International Media Mission (IMM) that was in Nepal for a week has come out with a report that presents a very gloomy picture of the state of media in the country. Some parts of the report, in fact, clearly constitute direct interference in the country’s internal affairs. Though it must be said in all fairness that the report also points out cases of violation of the rights of media persons; it nevertheless tries to treat individual instances as though it were the general prevailing condition in the country. This is where the IMM’s assessment has gone wrong. Moreover, it is apparent that the Mission has not at all taken into account the very unusual circumstances prevailing in the country.

    No doubt, IMM has presented specific cases of detention of journalists who allegedly suffered excesses. It is also commendable that the visiting team should demand action against the perpetrators and compensation for the victims. We also agree with this. In fact a probe into these allegations would only be in order. However, the IMM team has clearly gone overboard in opposing a) anti-terrorism laws b) media ordinance, and c) the government’s one window ad policy.

    This is not an attempt to justify these ordinances. Nobody is unaware of the reality that the country is at present run through ordinances. Ordinances do not become the order of the day in normal times. To get straight to the point; the crises in Nepal cannot by any standard of even the incurable optimism of the imagination be called normal. To take a case in point, how can the anti-terrorism laws not be in place when the country is fighting the scourge of bombings, abductions, killings and extortions? The IMM report was no doubt speaking of ‘abuse’ of these laws. So let there be a probe and let the perpetrators, both from the side of the state as well as the Maoists–as the report implicates both– be punished.

    Now, with regard to the new media policy on the anvil, many have called it draconian. It may be, but if it is, there are reasons for it. What IMM needs to understand is that these policies complement anti-terrorism laws in place, as the focus of the ordinance would be to curb dissemination of news / views encouraging the insurgency and which are inflammatory and detrimental to national interest. Provisions for a regulation against yellow journalism and the need to protect citizens against slander and defamation with strong laws has long been felt and clearly, on this score existing laws are inadequate . The media cannot be allowed to abuse its strength. The blinkered tour organized by some media houses in honor of the IMM to promote their vested interests, while being an example of its manipulative strength in the name of strengthening Nepalese media has only brought the expected media ordinance into debate. True, let’s have a debate by all means and contribute inputs to the ordinance so that it actually strengthens not only the media but also democratic institutions through proper dissemination..

    On the One-Door Advertising policy of the government the IMM report could not have got it more wrong. The basic concept of a free market economy is that of competitiveness and survival of the fittest. The State already allows concessional import of press equipment and newsprint. Is it the government’s responsibility to ensure media’s financial viability? The State, like all advertisers has the right to choose the best media it feels can deliver its message. Can the IMM in all sincerity ask the government to foot the media’s bills? The IMM is overstepping its boundaries on this subject. Besides, it is also promoting inefficiency and dependence of media on the government and treating the government simply as a source of income for media that are too complacent to find their own avenues of revenue generation. The media should not rely on government dole-outs for survival for this hardly makes for a strong and independent fourth estate. It appears that the IMM delegates simply missed out on the basics of free market economy, influenced as they were by the guided tour.

    Like

Post your views

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s