By Harsha Man Maharjan.
Mainstream Nepali media survive from advertisements. These media never dare to criticize their advertisers.
In Nepal instant noodle ads rule the ad market. And we see no information about the negative effect of these instant noodles there.
Recently Present government placed instant noodles in the category of luxury goods and introduced tax on them. Noodle industries criticized the government action and stop their production. Heath experts and consumer rights activists know that these noodles are unhealthy. People suffer with malnutrition when they take the noodles regularly. This information seldom comes in mainstream media. Opposite to it, once The Himalayan Times and Annapuran Post even devoted its two full pages to eulogize these noodles. It must be Public Relations material. There might be other newspapers and media doing the same which I missed.
Yesterday (3 August, 2006) I was surprised to watch a comedy teleserial on the Kantipur TV, Laina Bhutukai Paryo. Yesterday’s episode has a scene: one father complains that eating a brand of noodle in increased price, his daughter’s face wrinkles. So he says he will announce strike against the people who taxed the noodles. It is ridiculous. It is not the government that wrinkles her face. It is the result of the content of the product. So it seems that the teleserial, commentaries on recent activities, is barking at the wrong tree. The culprit is the noodles’ industry people not the government. The serial does this because it has no guts to criticize its big advertiser.
We can’t think of stopping Instant noodle industry. It is related to livelihood of many people. So what government did is good, we have to dissuade people from having these unhealthy noodles.
Consumer right activists, government owned media and alternative media must aware people about the negative effects of the noodles.