Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
How free?



Commenting on the media's role these days is like stirring a hornet's nest. For a political figure to do this is to risk his entire political career. That is because in the age of media empires, anyone who crosses the path of the press can't be saved even by god.

Democracy and press freedom are synonymous. Wherever there is more press freedom, democracy is stronger. Even so, press freedom doesn't mean a free for all. Threats to press freedom can also come from media monopolies. That is why whereas feudal dictatorships openly suppress the media, monopoly capitalism does so indirectly by controlling ownership. In a society like ours where socialism and lackey capitalism are all mixed up, there are direct and indirect threats to press freedom.

It is becoming clear that the Nepali media is increasingly controlled by lackeys of capitalism.The print and electronic media are in the hands of a handful of big families and capitalists and it is a cruel fact that this monopoly is strangling the press. This spread of cronyism and control of the media by lackeys of capitalists is a serious challenge to our nascent democracy. Journalists who courageously fought against a feudal dictatorship now need recognize the threat to media freedom from a capitalist monopoly and be vigilant. That working journalists who write about exploitations of the masses should fail to recognize their own exploitation is a conundrum.

No one should doubt the Maoist commitment to press freedom. But press freedom can also be misused by anti-democratic forces. For example, journalists are often used as spies by intelligence agencies.

The FNJ team that investigated the abduction of Prakash Thakuri in Mahendranagar has shown that he was the commander of the militant royalist group, Nepal Janatantrik Morcha. Similarly, Lal Bahadur Chaudhari accused Birendra Sah of repeatedly trying to set fire to his house and raping his daughter, but this didn't get much attention in the press and needlessly dragged the entire Maoist party into the controversy.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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