Nepali Times
CK LAL
Fourth Estate
Television politics


CK LAL


DAMBAR K SHRESTHA
The first televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, during the 1960 presidential race, influenced the preferences of voters so much that television cameras became an integral part of US elections. Within a few years, historian and social critic Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was to contend that television had replaced the political party because it set the political agenda and ensured a favourable turnout on voting days.

Nepali society is too complex for the small screen to be the decisive factor in electoral politics. But cameras do play an important role in swaying public opinion. The public assembly at Basantapur Square last week was a staged-for-television event. With the involvement of television personality Bhaskar Rajkarnikar, who popularised telecasts of staged street events almost two decades ago, the presentation was foolproof from the word go.

There were weightier factors at play Ė lobbying by diplomats, phone calls from foreign capitals and pressure from fatigued cadres, for example Ė during the final moments of the stand-off between Maoist and anti-Maoist forces last week. However, the clincher was perhaps the spectacle captured by television cameras at the peace assembly.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal had good reason to foam at the mouth while cursing the media during his speech at Khula Manch the following day. Newspapers did play some role in demonising the Maoists. FM radio stations had to be loyal to advertisers and their target audience. However, at least part of the reason behind the Maoists' media debacle lies in the medium: television is ineffective in depicting ideological conflicts. Issue-based politics belong to the print media, but microphones want sound clips and cameras love media personalities.

Leftwing politics held a competitive advantage when its arguments made audiences think. It held its ground during the radio boom in Nepal. Those who made the loudest and most inflammatory speeches hogged the limelight. Television cameras, by contrast, have little time for nuances and even less inclination to report verbosity.

It was the press that transformed Maoist fugitives into heroes during the decade of armed struggle. Ironically, those journalists who lionised violent insurgents are now their biggest critics. There is a reason for their somersault: Nepal's Maoists have failed to oblige the middle class by abandoning their political agenda as UML did in the mid-nineties. The animosity of the 'reformed' Nepali media towards its former idols is thus understandable.

Through his inflammatory speeches from Khula Manch, Dahal was playing a game that lost its efficacy years ago. In the early nineties, the late Madan Bhandari courted courtiers by night and hit back at them through fiery speeches during the day. The tactic helped UML retain some of its mass base even as it transformed itself into a party of the urban bourgeoisie. But it worked mainly because there were no television cameras to magnify the contortions of Bhandari's face for the middle class in their living rooms. This time, viewers watched Dahal fume from dozens of channels live and, simply put, became very afraid.

The Maoists need not despair, however. They may be novices at playing to the gallery through the medium of television, but their rivals are no professionals either. TV cameras exaggerate the nervousness of Ram Chandra Paudel, the aggression of Sher Bahadur Deuba and the helplessness of Sushil Koirala. Madhav Nepal looks cuddly, but fails to inspire confidence. Khanal is telegenic and Oli dresses well for the press, but both appear inauthentic.

Among Madhesi politicos, Upendra Yadav bumbles his way through television interviews and Mahanta Thakur is perennially defensive, the mark of a weak media personality. In comparison, Dahal oozes confidence and Baburam Bhattarai comes across as a somewhat cranky university don: perhaps too self-righteous, but not that unreasonable.

The Maoists have lost this round, but the media war for the attention of television viewers has just begun.

READ MORE:
Letting go- By Prashant Jha
Wanted: leaders - By Krishna Khanal
Less revolting - By Kiran Nepal
Relief and despair - Publisher's Note
Proximate breakthrough
Get the message across - By Ashutosh Tiwari



1. jange
Newspapers did play some role in demonising the Maoists.

And of course the fact that the Maoists murdered, looted and extorted had no role at all in demonising the Maoists.


2. Thurpunsich
"Pushpa Kamal Dahal had good reason to foam at the mouth while cursing the media during his speech at Khula Manch the following day. Newspapers did play some role in demonising the Maoists."

The then CEO (Ashutosh Tiwari) of the Himalmedia company that publishes this paper was attacked by some stone-throwing political goondas while he was being driven to his work not too distant in the past. 

The editor (Kunda Dixit and his staff personnel) of this paper and staff members of Himalmedia were manhandled, roughed up, injured by a group of political goondas not too distant in the past.

Remember those incidents, Mr. Lal?

And, do you remember those political goondas were doing those despicable and "demonistic" acts at the encouragement of Maoist political leadership while, get this, Prachanda was the prime minister.

And, you, Mr. Lal, have the audacity to blame the media for "demonising the Maoists"? 


3. npasl
cklal must be foaming in his mouth that others have finally figured out his and maoists' oh-so-smart ploys.


4. Ali Reza
CKL you are right. BaburamBhattarai is like a cranky Don.His cabinet will remind one of the cabinet of Dr.Caligari. of Fellini.

5. Santa
Nepali Times must realize that giving such prominent space to a "closet Maoist" like CK Lal will compromise its reputation as an independent publication. Also he should be open about his affiliation to that party and not hide it under the guise of his criticism of the 'Kathmandu elite'.

Lal is certainly getting tiresome and needs a break. CK, go take a hike, a long one.



6. Jagat

CK Lal is Comrade Lal. Be thankful that Nepal's democratic media still gives you space when you have turned into an apologist for totalitarian, violent Maoists. One of these Comrade CK Lal Dhok is going to hired as the Maoist party spokesperson.



7. jange
Please don't put any blame on Dr. Lal. He is commenting on the media. The comments that he writes are his comments on the MEDIA not the Maoists.


8. NV Nepal
Thanks lal.
I appreciated your analysis somehow. But see the commitment of the UCPN-Maoist in their action and intentions. The Maoists have a moral ground of the largest party in the Constituent Assembly, but not in the questions to the multiparty democracy, Human Rights, Press Freedom and independence of Law. As a veteran intellectual, please let them talks on the principles of the new statute, which will pave the way of new nepal really, not in the debate in the real sense of the democracy. Please see the Maoists brutality in the villages also in the cities, seems that they are the all in all.


9. Himal
I used to love CK lal's analysis as I did Khagendra Snagraula. But it seems these days they are on Maoist payroll.


10. Devendra Pant
Interesting  piece by Mr. Lal. Finally, he realizes the power of the lens and, hopefully, would soon appreciate the ever increasing role of digital media in politics as well as other spheres of public life.  It is not a surprise that in recent election to the British Parliament, Mr.Brown first lost the televised debate, before his party Labor lost the election. The ever gazing eyes of the lenses demand a new culture and accountability from the public figures. Party leaders in Nepal largely groomed up in a culture, where-- "Afno angko bhainsi nadekhne, arkako ang ko jumra dekhne"; now confront the powerful lenses.  The public "sees" every move, even the slightest twitching of the facial muscles! Indeed, the IT revolution played  decisive roles in  the Velvet revolution, or Orange revolution in Eastern Europe or even in the recent overthrow of the dictator in Central Aisa. One cannot hide one's face or even ones intent in front of camera. The behaviors of Nepali politicians show that they are at least one century behind in their mindset; and at least half a century behind in the use of modern media such as the TV. Can we learn to unlearn old habits and be prepared to lead in the twenty-first century? Who can deny that "Media is the message"?


11. ST Tulachan

CK Lal's rote mantra that passes for analysis these days: it's all the fault of the Kathmandu elites!



12. pitbiv
There were days of communists dogmatism but now when communism ishas almost been eradicated some Democrats here seem so dogmatic that they are virtually blind to some unique and spontaneous political process going on in our country... 

13. jange
# 11 it's all the fault of the Kathmandu elites!

Of course it is. Always has been and always will be.




14. bigyan
An example of CK Lal's profound wisdom which analyses nothing:

"Nepali society is too complex for the small screen to be the decisive factor in electoral politics."

Just watch. He will weave variations of this sentence in his other articles.

"Nepali society is too complex for the print media to be the decisive factor in electoral politics."

"Nepali society is too complex for the Facebook, Twitter, Internet to be the decisive factor in electoral politics."

"Nepali society is too complex for the large screen to be the decisive factor in electoral politics."

"Nepali society is too complex for Nepali society to be the decisive factor in electoral politics."

"Nepali society is too complex for the Nepali politicians to be the decisive factor in electoral politics."

"Nepali society is too complex for the Kathmandu elites to be the decisive factor in electoral politics."

"Nepali society is too complex for commentators like me to be the decisive factor in electoral politics."

The point is: Isn't every society complex? Is Nepali society any different? Aren't there many factors in any electoral politics? What is CK Lal talking about? Previously, you couldn't talk back to the writers here. Now that you can, it's obvious how small-minded and muddled-thinking these "celebrated" writers are.




15. jange
# 14. I think it would be useful if NT could arrange for the authours to respond to the commentors.

Let's see if  NT can manage that.


16. Rabin

A failure of Prachanda to control his emotions in front of the crowd could be so well fabricated in his support!!! This writer must be kidding with Nepali citizens! Putting International references cannot be the base of converting the fact in to fake truth. Hey man be-careful Nepalese citizens are smarter to analyze and interpret your writing very well. Don't underestimate Nepalese citizens and write articles.

We need to stop believing our eyes and listen to what you may think! is correct !! What a Joke!!!

 



17. haribhakta katuwal
hehe, spot on Bigyan!

18. buzz
Lal,

Its a common sense not a rocket scientist. Any person with little analytical skills could figure out what is going on. You do not need television or print media per say. You just need to do little analysis and also little lesson in history. Compare Nepal to China. Do not forget Mao devastated China. The similar situation is repeating in Nepal.

Lal no matter how moan and groan, you are just displaying your ulterior motives.



19. Nirmal
Burgeoise....UML? Would be an insult to the good faith of the very word....the NC and the UML were and still tends to be right-oriented forces, that right to which the issue of racial discrimination, fair treat to women, good governance, rights of children, right to ones own identity matter less but they pretend to give volume of fums with their daura suruwaal as if their genitals(ineptitudes)are not seen totally. Really, I  have no problem with the terminology right but depends on the location where you are situated. there are rights in some countries that could be perfectly called lefts in other countries and viceverse. Of course the Maoists can improve and triumph in next round as God prefers but they need to assure LOVE, CK Lal. San love, no honey  no money so the day is not sunny!


20. Reb
#5

Why only blame CK, the editors and publishers (of not only this magazine but others as well) have over the years kowtowed to the Maoists.  They cannot help it because of the "fear factor", appeasement manages to sneak it.  Since they don't need to fear the other political parties they are liberated to truly depict the political parties for what they are.  Even the Royals had limits on what they could do, Maoists don't. This psychosis applies not only to CK and KD, but also to PJ, AT, the whole gang.  It is well reflected by D. Pandey, SM Dixit, Sangraula, A. Subedi, and other stalwarts of the society.   It is only when they themseleves get attacked regardless of thier appeasement, then they will awaken because then it will not matter anymore, it will be do or die time.  With the Himal media episode, NT seems to have come around now, but still is walking a fine line.

Maoists have slit teachers thoarts, cut laborers legs, amputated business peoples hands, murdered good people, continue to terrorize, beat, loot the citizenary, and what do tall these civic society people and arm chair columinists do? Rationalize, tantalize,disguise, minimize and sympathize - but like I said, they have thier cumpulsion to do so, and we need to understand that.  Why you may ask?  Most if not all have to make a living, need to earn a paycheck, and for the publishers, this a business - need to employ, pay, and make profit, while providing news service to their reader and keeping them hooked.  They have to weigh and balance and turn this medium into an art form. It is a difficult job.

Its easy for us to sit back and criticize them with made up aliases while sipping tea in front of our computers.  Would any of us commentators also dare to criticize the Maosits goons to their face?  Think about it!!  Lets take what the media throws at us with a grain of salt and learn to appreciate thier sacrifice for the freedom of the press, in the name of the people and the country!


21. Ma Nepali
And NT knows CKLal sells. Isn't it the same difference?


22. ST Tulachachan

# 13 Of course it is. Always has been and always will be.

An abslolutist position well situated for our times. Who needs reasoned dialogue when the culprits have already been idenfied and deemed guilty forever?! Maoist violence and killing? Bah, fault of the Kathmandu elites! The entire country shut for days on end? No worries, fault of the Kathmandu elites! Having girlfriend or boyfriend problems? Why, that's gots to be the fault of those friggin Kathmandu elites! Lovely!

 



23. jange
It was the press that transformed Maoist fugitives into heroes during the decade of armed struggle. Ironically, those journalists who lionised violent insurgents are now their biggest critics. There is a reason for their somersault: Nepal's Maoists have failed to oblige the middle class by abandoning their political agenda as UML did in the mid-nineties.


This must be Dr. Lal's dig at his employers. Not bad!!



24. nishma
amusing - anyone who talks sense and speaks on behalf of the majority's wish is now a "maoist" or "pro-maoist". now ck lal, a BP worshipper and a longtime kangresi, is also being labelled a maoist. great. let's see who all still retain their "neutral" image as "non-maoists"- jarnel-karnel-major saabs and their offspring, big businesswalas and their offspring, old party losers and their offspring, media barons(dixit bros, for example), "educators" (PABSON), "legal professionals" afraid of losing their loot, "civil servants" afraid of losing their unearned privileges. let's admit it. anyone who wants change in this horribly unequal society is now a "maoist". the only "non-maoists" left are the parasites who want to carry on feeding off the sweat and toil of the rest of population.

25. jange
# 24. It is not the case of  "anyone who talks sense and speaks on behalf of the majority's wish..."  who is a maoist or pro maoist.

Only those who advocate the use violence to achieve their political objectives who are maoists  or pro-maoists.

I hope you see the difference.


26. Slarti

#23, Why, of course you have to live off the sweat and toil of the rest of the population. Because if you did not - who would the Maoist kill, they can't do the decent thing and kill themselves for that crime, can they?

Take for example the greatest of them all bloodsuckers, the teachers ‚Äď atrocious little creatures; oppressing little children with education, like teaching them that 2+2 equals 4, such hindrance to the revolution!!

Or take the puissant little farmers, how dare they accept the law and not help the Maoist with earnings acquired by oppressing themselves, and worst those who worked on their fields for pay. Better take the¬†beauraucrats, braggarts that they are. Some of them are corrupt, we must expropriate their ill-earned wealth, but the ones who are honest are a major hindrance on the path to the great revolution and our effort to make wrong into right ‚Äď they must be eliminated, bhautik karbahi on them.

Now take the jarnel sahibs, the major sahibs, the sergeant sahibs, who are living the life of exploiters, living off the tax payers money, ready to pounce on any effort to bring peace etc. I agree they are a hindrance, they must be punished. 

And by the way, sorry for getting the PLA ranks wrong, I guess they are all just called kamreds.



27. Pegasus

nishma,

spot on.... :0



28. Arthur
nishma #24, yes - the parasites are feeling surrounded and becoming deranged with paranoia.

Sumita Tiwari's prediction of the reaction to last week's column by C K Lal has certainly been confirmed. This week's column actually doesn't say much,  but they are still furious from last week's, which actually did say something.

Of the hostile comments, #14 from bigyan can be taken as a serious response. Most of the rest seem to be just venting their hatred for last week's column.

Unfortunately the equal number of those who did comment in support of last week's column are left with little to say this week, since the column doesn't actually say much worth either supporting or opposing. That doesn't stop those who just want to tell the world how upset they are at losing all support.



29. Manik

Very AMUSING indeed! ring bells? CK Lal is the ELEPHANT that rules in nepali media. And we have plenty of; hanges, janges, rames, kisnes, kalus, talus, puntis, bhuntis, khaires, bhaires, kajis, & pajis, whose pseudo-intellect or for that matter pseudo-socialite cum intellect-libido shoots up when the giant trumpets. The sheer size of Lal's analytical prowess has always dwarfed these pseudo-namesakes loitering in Catmandu since generations.

FYI bums, CK Lal has always been firm believer in a just society, government- often democracy and often claimed 'bauko birta' by a party that goes by the name of '' Whatever Kangres''. CK Lal is a democratic dude that regaled of Koiralas for their contribution to the democratic process, thought, etc- not their misdemeanor.

Shame on you smarty pants who have the audacity to call the likes of Lals, Dixits, et. al. ''maoists''. Your shame is amusement though !

Dont be fooled o' blind men, CK Lal & else of the likes are simply saying; we need to recognise the maoists' presence. They are dangerous if u ignore them. They have a majority in the election deemed fair- fundamental to democratic thought. Even the 'khaires' have recognised that. And we need to deal with them without undermining democratic thought. The maoists' inert deed will make or break them-they must inertly know that Nepalese are fairly democratic and would prefer so.

Blind you are, but sad is your ego- if u will ever let go and rise upto the giants, a society I believe can be transformed. Hail CK Lal!

 



30. Manik

Very AMUSING indeed! ring bells? CK Lal is the ELEPHANT that rules in nepali media. And we have plenty of; hanges, janges, rames, kisnes, kalus, talus, puntis, bhuntis, khaires, bhaires, kajis, & pajis, whose pseudo-intellect or for that matter pseudo-socialite cum intellect-libido shoots up when the giant trumpets. The sheer size of Lal's analytical prowess has always dwarfed these pseudo-namesakes loitering in Catmandu since generations.

FYI bums, CK Lal has always been firm believer in a just society, government- often democracy and often claimed 'bauko birta' by a party that goes by the name of '' Whatever Kangres''. CK Lal is a democratic dude that regaled of Koiralas for their contribution to the democratic process, thought, etc- not their misdemeanor.

Shame on you smarty pants who have the audacity to call the likes of Lals, Dixits, et. al. ''maoists''. Your shame is amusement though !

Dont be fooled o' blind men, CK Lal & else of the likes are simply saying; we need to recognise the maoists' presence. They are dangerous if u ignore them. They have a majority in the election deemed fair- fundamental to democratic thought. Even the 'khaires' have recognised that. And we need to deal with them without undermining democratic thought. The maoists' inert deed will make or break them-they must inertly know that Nepalese are fairly democratic and would prefer so.

Blind you are, but sad is your ego- if u will ever let go and rise upto the giants, a society I believe can be transformed. Hail CK Lal!



31. jeevs
CKL = mental diarrhea


32. shristi
But hasn't the media always been biased towards the one with or in power??  They only condemned the Maoists because some of their reporters were beaten up.

There is nothing called freedom of press and I think all the media persons a.k.a journalists know this...

Media demon-ised Maoists because they were attacked on a personal level and they became afraid not because Maoists have a history of blood shed.

Maoists are demon-ised because of what they really are: opportunistic politicians not hesitant to remove anyone from  their path of power drive. 


33. Sunita Tiwari
Mr. Lal, you are not only seeing what the elites don't want us to see, but enlightening your readers too. Thanks a lot. 

34. shristi
Again,,who exactly are THE elites??

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


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