Journalism of courage and impact
If this was the Oscars, my award would be for Best Supporting Role category.
Because that is actually what my journalism career has been mostly about -- supporting others in the media profession through mentorship and on-the-job training.
In fact, the joke back home is that the Nepali Times is a classroom, not a newsroom.
At the paper, my focus has always been not just to teach how to do journalism, but also why. This is especially important at this time in history when the mass media in Nepal and elsewhere is in a financially fragile state. This makes it more vulnerable to pressure from corporate interests, the state and the metaverse.
These days, tyrants ruling totalitarian states are not the only threats to journalism. The threat is more from populist despots who get themselves elected by coopting the institutions of democracy, and then proceed to dismantle and undermine those very institutions to stay on in power.
At this time when there is a new multipolar Cold War, we have to remember that it is morally more important to defend democracy and press freedom than pursue narrow geostrategic interests — even when those violations are happening among your allies. An enemy of an enemy is not necessarily your friend.
You know, I feel like a bit of an imposter being recognised today. The real heroes in the media are those brave colleagues around the world who have paid with their lives, who are in detention, are being tortured, those spending sleepless nights because of the threats to their families, and those trolled and harassed by cyber lynch mobs.https://youtu.be/zkMZK2ej-ZM
Video: GUNARAJ LUITEL
It is an honour to represent all of them.
At times in the past when our office was vandalised and we were physically assaulted, the thing that kept our hopes up was that darkness is always followed by a new morning.
And during those long months in exile, the person I missed the most back home was my dog. I kept my hopes up by reminding myself that I would see him again one day, and I did. He taught me how not to be a lapdog, but to be a watchdog.
Aloha and Mahalo.