As we all know, the mass media plays an important public service role in a democracy — to present the news without fear or favour, and let the potato chips fall where they may. We take our adversarial role very seriously indeed: to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, to hold government to account, to tell truth to power, and publish all the hearsay that is fit to print.
We should not take for granted the new Constitution, which gives us the freedom to publicly lynch anyone who disagrees with us even slightly. We don’t have to think twice about saying what a terrific guy Comrade Fierceness is. We only have to think once.
There is a malicious rumour going around town that we in the Fourth Estate aren’t free to be as sycophantic, hypocritical and unscrupulous as we want to anymore. There is freedom of press in Nepal, it’s just that we don’t have freedom after press.
As you can see for yourself in the pages of our newspapers, our aforementioned freedoms are perfectly intact. We journos have never been freer to lick ass, kiss ass, or be kicked in the Ass.
Nevertheless, we mustn’t rest on our laurels and let complacency get the better of us as we go out of our way to kowtow even when we are only asked to bow. We have eager reporters more than willing to print handouts in exchange for handouts. But let me assure you in no uncertain terms that, unlike some of our peers, we are not the type to take the money and run. Our journalistic code of ethics requires us to be true to our salt and committed to toe the party line, but only once adequately compensated. We intend to keep our end of the bargain and print any official announcement, press release or notice in its ‘as is’ condition.
There are absolutely no curbs on vowel movements in the new Constitution, and state-controlled media is free to report at great length on all official pronunciations. As part of the government’s laudable efforts to help the media industry become more self-reliant, self-important, self-righteous and self-censored, the Ministry of Misinformation and Newspeak has decided to require all those desirous of pursuing a journalism career to first get a license by passing a test to be conducted by the Nepal Press Counsellors. It is a tough exam, but once through we can confidently tell everyone: “Forgive us our press passes.”
As a service to Nepali media and to help aspiring journalists, we reproduce below the leaked question paper in which examinees can answer objective questions subjectively.