World Press Freedom Day and Unforgettable Scene in Kathmandu

Today, May 3, is World Press Day.According to a report published at The Himalayan Times, press scene in Nepal is quite bleak, however things have improved. And that is the only consolation.

Why? because if you look at the way Nepali press is ignoring basic tenets of unbiased and ideologically free news coverage, it is clear that there is nothing much to cheer about!

Today Federation of Nepali Journalists(FNJ) inaugurated their 23rd annual convention is style. The Prime Minister and who is who of Nepali politics were present to celebrate with the journalists.

Quite an unforgettable scene because it is straight out of “what not to do” as a journalists play book.

The New York Times skipped White House Correspondent’s Dinner because of ethics concerns.Around the world, proximity between politicians and journalists is seen with suspicion. It is not something to be proud of. But exactly opposite is true in Nepal.

Journalists are deliriously happy hobnobbing with politicians and see their presence at their convention inauguration as a seal of approval. This proximity raises serious ethical concerns. I am glad that well-known journalists are now going  public with their criticism of this incestous relationship. Thank you GunaRaj Luitel of Annapurna Post.

Instead of urging its members to maintain balance and shun unprofessional relations with politicians and industrialists, FNJ itself is involved in breaking ethics barriers. Where in the world would you find journalists, who openly claim to be one, involved in party and ideological politics? It happens in Nepal.

There are organizations of journalists who openly declare their allegiance to a party and ideology. They work in newspapers and claim to be professionals; but how can a journalist be professional or ethical when he or she is openly divisive?

In this day, when hundreds of journalists around the world are celebrating hard-earned press freedom and right to free expression; it is sad to see that Nepali journalists are happy ignoring the basics of that cherished freedom.

As a note, FNJ was established by well known Nepali Congress leader Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. And the kicker?? Nepal Journalists Association lists the North Korean leader Kim Jon Il has its executive committee member!!

So much for all the noise about free press. The press itself is co-opted!


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