Sunday, July 21, 2019

How much is too much - II

On top of that Nepali Press is facing a tight media gag by the government. The Communication Minister [Mr. Gokul Baskota who is on the go to be compared with Goebbels for all the stunts he is practicing now] is holding a media council act just like the Sword of Damocles over the head of press. The government came up with many ways to control media with a slap from Rs 25,000 to a million Rupees fine if the news is malicious. If any they cant pay the fine they have to serve time in jail. This fine seems not just very impractical but very malicious in its intention. How come government not know the fact journalist are paid only 15,000 per month which mean it takes more than five years to earn a million Rs. Remember it takes more than five years just to earn not to save that much money. No wonder all the umbrella groups of journalists are gathered up to stand against the government’s ban on free press right including Press Council of Nepal.

Again all the journalists are using Facebook and twitter to post their thoughts which build a pressure on concerned body to rethink on its new press gag law. It forced Press Council to form a new act named - press council act 2075 which is yet to finalize.

It's equally important to focus media person’s role in mass behavior. Press council is that body in country which act as a watchdog as well as protector of the press freedom. However, we lack substantial number of analysts in our media who can help us understand what is wrong in our media person, why they spend way too much time to tell the story of some power drunk politicians.

Some areas we should keep our eyes more than other when it comes to media persons.

Voice of Anger and Frustration : Media should not be the place for voice of anger or frustration; instead it should be the forum of those who understand what is going on around us and make mass understand about it. Media should also come out with ways to help mass to get out of the mess that goes around us. However, it seems that is just a dream now. Responsible and accountable journalists need to know it takes time to change behavior of people in every society and it takes time to change the system. I did not see much difference in the anger felt by Dil Nisani in his April 29th post or the BSF man Tej Bahadur who wanted to kill Modi. Anger spread and catch faster than flue. And that's what makes it so frustrating to control the frustration felt by the mass. What do you think why everyone wants to leave the country for better future ?

Acting Masiha : Journalists here act as if they are masiha. It's not hard to figure it out how they got infected from the ‘disease’, as our society has tremendous influence dreamland named Bollywood. Many of the journalists are fan of movie Nayak. Journalist Rabi Lamichhane once did the same style of interview that caught the attention of mass; not surprisingly it went viral. Acting as if he too is the lead character as played by Anil Kapoor in the movie. Many journalist act like masiha as if politicians are devil, someone who gets out from the big corruption all the time. When I use the word devil here I think it's a must for me to tell you what Christiane Amanpour taught me about the word ‘evil’. Couple of years ago, when a christian woman came on her show and used word evil; she interrupted her in the beginning of interview, saying I don't like this word because this is the extreme way to describe your opponent. In western society journalist makes us understand rather than react. Here journalist makes everything appear so big which can not be corrected during our lifetime. Not surprisingly not a single politician ever faced a serious court punishment.

Creating GOD : Its irony that we have journalists who act like masiha on one side and then on the other side they also make politicians GOD. How ? Blaming everything to politicians or people in power for everything that goes wrong in our which is very unrealistic approach to life and hoping almost a superhuman expectations from them. We must understand it, they are not GOD nor we should ask them all the questions only god can answer. There are times journalist should remember the hard work of two young journalists from US. In US the team of Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein with the help of deep throat [ which was the voice of Edgar Hoover then FBI chief] made the President Nixon resign from his position. When Nixon acted like untouchables journalists did something which was unheard of until then.

Undermining Picture Power : Recently, I saw in one feature, Kantipur drew a picture of a big hand and half back side of a man which was wearing a camouflage dress; clear hint that it was army man. In front of that giant figure, a teenage girl almost appeared toy who shrunk under fear. That picture portrayed army men being so big, powerful and untouchable even media can not help young girls being the victims. Again a big hint you need a god to protect your young girls from those who has big lust. Seeing that picture a question crossed my mind, if army men are terrorizing young girls in our country then what is the role of media ? are they trying to help young girls from those big bully or Kantipur is using a psychological tactics to scare young girls and the mother of young girls to be even more scared from those who act above law ? If they did not know then what is the use of giant picture in media like that ? Is not this the work of media to remind army men how big you are or your lust could be, there is justice system that can bring you down under law. Does this mean Kantipur thinks army men’s lust is bigger than its media presence in our society ?

Killings of journalists : Recently a journalist and woman’s right activist and campaigner was gun down by extremist group on broad daylight of Kabul. This news link took me back to the Charlie Hebdo episode in France just couple of years before in which 12 journalists including a woman were killed. Although, they said they won't harm a woman. World leaders of that time had marched hand in hand to show their solidarity with Charlie Hebdo. Charlie Hebdo’s also have got the support from court do what they were doing. Personally, I will not side with the one who speaks or sketch something that provokes the thought of opponents. When somebody feels comfortable to disrespect one entire community’s God repeatedly without any respect to those who follow him, one of them will take extreme action. Charlie Hebdo left a question how much is too much in freedom of speech. We condemn the killing of journalists, but we can't change the mind of those who slain them. The hard act would have been to stop them doing what they did. But both practiced what they strongly believed. to That is why it is up to the conscience of journalists to know the consequences of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is not just speaking the truth but also knowing the rules which is you can't hurt, insult, degrade, demean or disrespect when you speak truth. And if that speaking affects bigger mass for longer time than we can remember then why not know the line; there are some opinions that is better if we keep within yourself. Practicing freedom of speech does not mean we undermine others feeling emotion or entire community's belief system. Others also have right to speak their mind or take action in anger.

Small mistake big impact on economy : Couple of years ago some tomato farmers got mad with vegetable market here in Kalimati due to the unsettled rate for the juicy fruit. In their anger some farmers threw tomatoes on street instead of selling it on lower price. The next day an irresponsible authority from the market issued a statement, the farmers who threw their tomatoes had harmful chemicals in it. It may have come from defensive tactic or the slip of tongue but when the news circulated   mass got scared of the chemical on tomatoes. Suddenly everyone avoided tomatoes in meal and slowly the fear passed on to other vegetables too. It really took more than a month before public started eating tomatoes. The exact data is not available but it must be millions of tons of wasted tomatoes and lost opportunity to make money on pick season. Some unwise comments in media to be precise on social media can make and break the entire economy system of the society. So it's one of the most challenging time to keep our eyes on journalists who say and write anything.

Personally speaking the biggest challenge of our media is to make our journalist know​ that anger, frustration, depression and ranting is not journalism. The angry buzz in media could not create enough proof to give justice to the young girl who was raped and killed and today Nirmala’s mother still seeks answer who killed her daughter. It should not be voice of our media, I mean social media should not be the place where people come and exhibit the downside of intellects writing skill, spilling wall post with vile. Sad truth is our intellect, writers, journalists, and mass; all of them have been using it to blame, be mad at, vent and rant. This is making wise people so depressing to surf news as well as Facebook. It also makes me wonder, why we love only the negative side of news that have power to make us feel so depressed. Why we forget it is media, that not only informs us, guide us and show us the way when we are lost.

Note :
  1. First part of this article has been published in July 14, 2019.
  2. This article has been published in Samhita, Asar 2076. Samhita is trimester magazine that is published by Press Council of Nepal.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

How much is too much I

“If you give me 50 corod I will kill Modi” was shared on Facebook with a news link. Under this link post, a nepali [ Salim Yonjan Tamang - Bhai] commented, “if you give me 50 lakh I will kill Oli”. In the video a BSF Soldier [Indian army] Tej Bahadur was captured on mobile video by his friends talking about his intention of assassination for huge sum. Needless to tell you, it went viral in social media because Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India. You can watch it as breaking news on Youtube also. This is creating media buzz now. 

We live in an age of internet, google and Facebook. Everything that is in internet is in Facebook or vice a versa. It is said that Facebook alone contributes to circle around 66% of our daily news dose. We can imagine the impact of it when we know that there are over 2.38 billion monthly active users (MAU) as of March 31, 2019. This means if it's in Facebook its everywhere. It will circulate the news like wildfire and not just locally but gets circulated in globe, with millions of views within 24 hours.

The new age technology changed our life drastically, in a way to get informed, as well as the way we communicate with each others and share news with other society. This happens now in lightning fast speed. Facebook is the real version of the concept in a blink of an eye. But this easy and fast expression as well as circulation has not only up side to it but also a downside. Downside of social media and internet is that we now have overflow of news and views. What is interesting is, now a days; majority of journalists use social media to get news and views not just share their thought on it.

It is not easy to understand why negative news flies like storm and good news travels at snail pace. But, just because we fail to grasp the power of negative news truth is not going to change. This is the reason which pose a big challenge to those who are in media watchdog position. It seems we can control only the smaller number of people who are using it to get 15 minute news break. Sometimes it may not be even intentional but lack of  understanding of media and its lasting impact to the mass at large.

On his facebook post on April 29, 2019, Kantipur journalist Dil Nisani Magar came forward strongly to support Sr. Captain Vijay Lama to denounce the decision of Nepal Airlines [NAC] to terminate him from the position of NAC spokesperson. The journalist gave his strong voice to the flight captain making us believe that top heads in NAC did wrong with their actions against the spokesperson. Anyone could feel his anger, agitation and loudness in this thought when the journalist expressed further that, good people are punished and corrupt are enjoying. But, the question is can a corporate spokesperson practice his individual out speaking nature in public just because he knows couple of company secret as an insider ? Remember he is not just a senior pilot but, he also represented the corporate image in public being a spokesperson of the airline company. In his termination letter that was posted on Facebook by Kishor Shrestha, Sr. journalist and Editor of Jana Astha weekly, NAC sounded very professional than the angry and agitated Kantipur journalist.

Now, it's not the question of who is wrong ?  But the big question is, what is wrong ? Is speaking your mind is freedom of speech ? Ashutosh Tiwari, Managing Director of Safal Partners, Entrepreneur and motivation guru posted on his wall about this issue, making us understand that, one cannot practice one’s individual habit of being outspoken when he represent a company. Another question also rise here, should not a man with a long career history working in such high position know about basic corporate business ethics ?

When we talk about freedom of speech, who can forget about the interview of CK Raut by Rishi Dhamala on ABC which give Raut opportunity to use national channel for his extreme opinion to divide community and talk of nation breaking nation. Strong opinions are fine within the boundary of four walls; unless, those voice are provided platform to reach in mass media channels. Television is one of the most effective way to reach bigger mass in an instance, so journalist there must practice a little more than basic norms of ethics. Should not Dhamala be knowing the limitations of freedom of press ? Fine he did not know about it but should not the channel owner be aware of the basic norms of freedom of speech before exercising it ?

A little more than a year ago there was a news posted in online news portal- RatoPati. According to it a mother of 36 year old fell in love and wanted to marry his 19 year old son. This news made me question who gave him license to write news ? How come a journalist is not aware of the difference between love and lust ? How come we believe that the editor of it was not even aware of such news. Can we trust journalist who lacks the common sense to answer one question what kind of message he is trying to spread it society ? Does he or his team thinks this is press freedom ?

In April a journalist [Arjun Giri] was jailed by CBI for three days for his news of thugs based on the complaint of victims. Press council and FJ went up and pulled him from CBI to bring him under its net, not just for his safety but also to reprimand him not to do anything to come under the law.

As I am writing this, there is a video going viral on social media about the obnoxious behavior of a journalist [Sushil Pandey] when he had Deputy Prime Minister Upendra Yadav on Avenue Television’s studio. When the high ranking government representative repeatedly told him about his objectionable way of interviewing, he forgot he is journalist and snapped saying to leave the studio if he can not answer all his questions. What happened after that grabbed the attention of all those who keep eyes on media people and their behavior. After watching the video, media expert Mr. Bhanubhakta Acharya posted on his wall, he could not take sides as both seemed wrong in their manners.

Nepali Times posted on May 14, 2019 two days after the interview aired, “The arrogant, undisciplined, rude and bullish behavior of a media person is making things difficult for those who oppose the government’s Media Bill designed to drag down the press like a stone tied to the neck. This is serious and despicable. An individual’s mistake drags down the whole profession. Gatekeepers should pay attention.”

Sushil Pandey may have enjoyed popularity but people will remember him as the one who is not the kind of journalist you should sit down on your sofa to watch him to understand news. His behavior demonstrated that core believe which our media persons clings so desperately. According to that believe politicians have that magic key which solves all problems overnight. Ironically, DPM Upendra Yadav responded at a time we don't use Aladdin's lamp to solve problems.

Our media people keep exhibiting that deep rooted belief of rebelling to raise topics in media. Expressing anger towards the person sitting on opposite chair. Very few of them are trained enough to face those who carry different believe than we do. It is funny that public at large blame politicians for everything like flood, earthquake, natural calamities and all that goes wrong in our society. Some of our journalist represent them instead of making them understand politicians are not god.

Note :

    1. Second part of this article will be published in next week.
    2. This article has been published in Samhita, Asar 2076. Samhita is a trimester magazine that is published by Press Council of Nepal. 

    Sunday, July 7, 2019

    सामन्तबादका अवशेषहरु

    फेरी प्रधानमन्त्री सारा अतिथिहरुलाई साधारण कुर्सीमा पछाडी राखेर आफु मात्रै एक्लै अगाडिको निक्कै महँगो र मुलायम देखिने सोफामा बसेको एउटा फोटो सामाजिक संजालहरुमा व्यापक चर्चामा आयो ! हैन किन यस्तो राजाहरुले देखाउने ब्यबहार जनताको प्रतिनिधिहरुले लाजै नमानी सार्बजनिक समारोहहरुमा देखाउना सकेको होला ? प्रधानमन्त्रीले आफु जनताको छोरा भएर जनताको प्रतिनिधि हुन पाएको कुरा बिर्सिएको पो हो कि उनलाई पनि राजाले जस्तो ब्यबहार गरेको भनेर निकाल्नु पर्ने हो ? अस्ट्रेलिया निबासी डा. भरत राज पौडेलले केहि दिन अघि उद्घाटन समारोहको एउटा फोटोमा आंफ्नो राय यसरी ब्यक्त गरेका थिए, "दुईटा ईट्टा जोड्यो एउटा सानो रातो टालो ओछ्याइदियो गमक्क पर्‍यो अग्लो ठाउँ भन्ठान्यो त्यही टेकेर उभियो । न सुहाएको छ, न लगाएको मिलेको छ। तैपनी लोकतन्त्रले अचेलका केही झिना मसिना नेताहरुलाई अनौठो सौख र भोक जगाईदिएको छ। पछाडी उभिने पनि बेहोस् जस्ता देखिन्छन।" उनको यो अभिव्यक्तिले सामाजिक संजालमा अरु पनि त्यस्तै फोटोहरु देखा पर्न थाले. बिस्तारै त्यस्तै फोटोहरुले सामाजिक संजालको कुरा गर्ने बिषय बस्तुलाइ एकातिर मोड्यो.

    अहिले सामाजिक संजालमा सरकारी कार्यालयमा काम गर्ने केहि उच्च तहका अधिकारीहरुले देखाएको ब्यबहारले, गर्ने लाइ भन्दा हेर्ने लाइ लाज भन्ने उक्ति याद दिलाउछ । त्यसैले आज यस किसिमको ब्यबहारको सामाजिक संजालमा निक्कै ठुलो बहसको सिर्जना गरिरहेको छ । एउटा नगर पालिकाको मेयरले त समारोहमा ईट्टा माथि रातो कपडा होइन कि टेबल माथि उभिएर सलामी ग्रहण गरेको देखिन्छ भने अर्को फोटोमा मेयर ठुलो मेचमा र उपमेयर सानो मेचमा त्यो पनि यौटै कार्यालयको कोठा भित्र भएको देखिन्छ । के सूचना दिन खोजेको होला यस्तो ब्यबहार देखाएर । कसरी त्यस्तो बर्गीय विभेदको कुरा मानिसहरुले सार्बजनिक समारोहमा त्यसरी गर्न सकेको होला ? अर्को एउटा फोटोमा पुरानो मैलो अनि खुइलिएको दरि माथि त्यो भन्दा पनि फोहोरी देखिने रातो दरिको टुक्रामा उभिएर सलामी ग्रहण गरेको देखिन्छ । कस्तो लाज पनि नलागेको सार्बजनिक समारोहमा गति न पतिको सलामी ग्रहण गर्ने तरिका प्रदर्शन गर्दा ।

    यो एउटा भेदभावको कुरा हो । यस्तो भेदभावको कुराले हाम्रो समाजलाइ लामो समय देखि नै जकडेको कुरा कसैबाट पनि लुक्न सकेको छैन । धेरै मानिसहरुले त्यस्तो फोटोहरुमा सरकारी अधिकारीहरुले देखाएको सामान्तबादी सोचको खिल्ली उडाएको थियो र त्यस्तो सोचलाइ लछार्ने काम भएको छ । यस्तो ठुला भनौदाहरुको सोचले सदियौ देखि तल्लो वर्गकाहरुले अपहेलित महसुस गर्ने गरको कुरा पनि कसैबाट लुकेको छैन । यौटै स्कूल र कक्षामा पढ्दा पनि त सानो जात म ठुलो जात वा म धनि र त गरिब भनेर होच्चाई सहनु पर्ने । तर यहाँ भने त्यस्तो नभई यौटै अफिसमा काम गर्ने माथिल्लो तहको कर्मचारीले चार कक्षामा पढ्ने स्कूलको केटा/केटीले गर्ने जस्तो ब्यबहार गरेर आफै आलोचनाको शिकार हुनु परेको छ ।

    सबै भन्दा टेबल माथि उभिएर सलामी ग्रहण गरेको फोटोले चाही सिमा नाघ्ने गरि नै प्रतिक्रिया वर्षाउन सफल भयो । केहिले फोटोशापको प्रयोग गरि उनलाई बिस मिटर अग्लो बाँस माथि नै राखी दिए जसले गर्दा उनले चाहे जत्ति उचाई बढोस । राजेन्द्र तारकिणी, सम्पादन हाउसका सम्पादकले त्यस्तो प्रवृतिको मजाक उडाउदै आफ्नो भित्तामा [जून २४ मा ] लामो बाँस माथि भएको मेयरको फोटो राखेर यस्तो लेखे : "हामीले चाहेको त भएन नै अब यिनेहरुले चाहेको यसैगरी पुर्याइदिऊँ न ।" त्यसरी सामाजिक संजालमा आफ्नो कार्यक्रम गर्दाको बारेमा ठुलो बहस निस्के पछि भने महालक्ष्मी नगरपालिकाले प्रेस बिज्ञप्ति जारी सलामी ग्रहण गर्ने तरिकाको बचाऊ गर्न थाले । साथै प्रचलित प्रचलनको आलोचना नगर्न सामाजिक संजाल प्रयोगकर्ताहरुलाई आव्हान गरेका थिए । आफ्नो गल्ति महसुस गर्नु कता हो कता यो पहिले देखिको चलन हो र हामीले त्यही चलनलाई निरन्तरता दिएका मात्रै हौ पो भन्न थाले । जसमा निउज २४ च्यानलले एउटा कार्यक्रम पनि बनायो. टेलिभिजनको त्यस कार्यक्रममा भने मेयरले आत्मालोचना गरेको कुरा छ ।

    यसैले हामी भन्न सक्छौ कि सामाजिक संजालले समाजका कुरितीहरुको बारेमा आलोचना गर्ने काममा ठुलो सहयोग पुर्याईरहेको र त्यस माथि चौतर्फी बहस पनि छिट्टै भैरहेको छ । साथै, सम्बन्धित ब्यक्ति तथा सस्थालाइ तुरन्त नै गल्ति महसुस गराउने काम समेत हिजोको प्रचलित संचार माध्यमको तुलनामा छिट्टो भएको देखिन्छ । आशा गरौ कि यी छोटे राजाहरु आउने दिनहरुको समारोहहरुमा त्यस्तरी प्रस्तुत हुने साहस गर्ने छैनन् । हाम्रै समयमा नै होइन र हिजो मात्र राजाको अचाक्ली ब्यबहार सहन नसकेर दरबारबाट सपरिवार निकाला भएको ? अनि के नभएको राजाको नाटक दोहोर्याउन पर्ने ?

    पुन : यो लेख जनआस्था साप्ताहिक पत्रिकामा २०७६ असार १८ गते प्रकाशित भएको थियो.