Nepal: Tough Place to Be a Journalist

At present there is nothing worse than being a journalist in Nepal. The government wants you to stop writing about the crimes it commits and the criminal history of its members.

For instance, the present Crown Prince, before being declared so, killed a musician in streets of
, but once he was declared the future king every campaign to get justice for the family of the dead just died down. The present King (when he was a prince) was involved in selling stolen antique Nepali statues and handicrafts. Then there are corruption charges. But if you are a Nepali journalist you have to keep quite about all this. Unless you want to pay the price. Which makes me wonder if this is the reason why so many journalists are now becoming “human rights activists”? I guess it is safer that way.

Then there are Maoist, who think that they going to bring peace and justice by beheading journalists. Quoting the Amnesty International “Gyanendra Bahadur Khadka, a journalist working for the Rastriya Samachar Samitee (National News Agency) in Sindhupalchok district, was killed by a group of Maoists using a kukuri( knife) on 7 September 2003, in the grounds of the Janata Secondary School, Jyamire, Sindhupalchok district. It is reported that the Maoist had leveled 12 charges against him but colleagues suspected that he was killed because his work as a journalist was considered to be detrimental to the interests of the CPN (Maoist).”

Needless to say Nepali journalists stay away from criticizing openly and strongly the blood bath Maoists are responsible for. So, what is published in Nepali papers? some beauty pageant in
or Pokhara, leader of political party being arrested or once in a while something about the wrong doings of the government or the Maoist. If you read the papers, it seems that the country is perfectly fine, except for occasional debate and street protests, that the King is God and that the Maoists are fair.

Is this real journalism? I don’t know, as I am not authority in journalism. Is it fair to expect strong reporting from journalists knowing that it may land them in trouble, I don’t know. But one thing is certain that this kind of “go soft on all so that when time comes you can easily switch sides” journalism is only encouraging the government to become more Nazi like. It is encouraging the Maoists to kill more and get amnesty for all of their crimes by forming alliances with the mainstream parties. This does not mean I will stop reading Nepali papers, they are more entertaining than listening to Jessica Simpson talk about poverty or for that matter, reading the “rosy” economic reports.

Amnesty International

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

− five = 2