Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Cheating when losing



I n the last week or so the attacks on media by militant unions have dominated the headlines. The Maoists have exhibited their totalitarian nature and used labour issues to disrupt the free media.

Prime Minister Puspha Kamal Dahal's comment "no one died, so what's the fuss" and Maoist union boss Salikram Jammarkattel's comment "journalists are lackeys of their feudal owners" did not help the party.

The Nepali media is evolving into a business. But the press can't be like other industries. It has a duty to provide citizens with accurate information and a forum for public debate. It is through the media that tolerances are built and solutions set. But for this the media needs to be independent. It is this role that the Maoists find difficult to digest. They claim to uphold the right of citizens to have a diversity of opinions, but they seem to have a low tolerance for the multiplicity of ideas.

The attacks on Himalmedia and Kantipur demonstrate that they have now decided that a critical media is their enemy and they have tried to intimidate the most credible and powerful voices in the media today. It is part of a strategy to bend public opinion through threats and intimidation of the free press.

During the insurgency, the Maoists targeted elected VDCs, rural banks and police stations. They succeeded in destroying grassroots infrastructure and the presence of state and occupied their space. Using the same strategy, they won the elections and became the biggest party. Now they are trying to capture the media.

The irony is that although they have used labour as an inroad into media, their own publications guarantee no rights to journalists and workers. By trying to tarnish the credibility of two of Nepal's most respected publishers they have shown their utter disregard for the concepts of democracy and the free press.



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


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