Last week, Nepali Twitterverse was abuzz with serious discussion on issue of user privacy, what counts for suitable material for a national daily and media ethics.
For the background information, please go through pervious post Twitter, Silliness Policing and Kantipur.
The discussions started after Kantipur’s Friday supplement published un-protected tweets of a user. A week later, instead of getting a clear message from Kantipur on how they plan to move ahead with their Twitter fishing expedition while respecting rights and concerns of a user; we get a memo(in a form of article written by Sunil Regmi) which is unapologetic, and frankly accuses those who raised privacy concerns of being “digital age refusenik”.
The memo raises valid questions on responsibility of a user to maintain a certain degree of civility during online conversations. Yes, we accept that. The user who sent death threats to Kantipur reporter Ashish Luitel should be called out for his insensitive act. And I believe majority of Nepali Twitter users engaged in the debate have done that, without any reservations.
Regmi also asks for Twitter users to accept that un-protected tweets are, well, not protected and thus can be viewed and used by anyone. Fine. It makes sense technically.
But, why is Regmi and his memo silent on concerns raised by Nepali Twitter users who want to know why a national daily of Kantipur’s stature is interested in finishing out random tweets that contribute nothing to further national debate. I mean, these random users they are trolling are not public personalities, they are not someone nationally or internationally consequential. They are just regular, private citizens. Why peek into their life? Kantipur can’t find better materials to fill that space?
Kantipur has also failed to address its motive behind heaping all the blame on their critics and labelling them “digital age refusenik“, while not accepting their mistakes. Tell me, in which country does a national newspaper get away without any apology or explanation after publishing random, inconsequential conversation between private citizens? That too after the readers have raised serious objection?
To add insult to injury, Regmi tries to school us on international Twitter and digital etiquette by referencing likes of Justin Beiber and the IPL! Kantipur believes that a teenage boy, who happens to be famous, is enough to force us to behave in a way that suits their agenda and expectations!
Kantipur is Nepal’s largest selling national daily and a big shot in country’s media and social scene; but please look at the message you are sending to your readers. If you continue on this path of arrogance and ignorance, future will be lot less charming.
Update April 25,2011
Since publishing this blog, I have read number posts on this issue. Here are two of more interesting ones:
ट्विटरमा पत्रकार (Nepali, Mero Report)
Thoughts On Ongoing Issue on Nepali Tweetosphere #TwitterKanda #Opinion (English, Aakar Post)