28 September 2007

Few Aspects of International Nepal Solidarity Network: Interview with Its Creator Sage Radachowsky

By Sage Radachowsky and Harsha Man Maharjan

Sage Radachowsky of Boston, USA created the website, INSN and manages the technical aspects, as well as doing a lot of the editorial work and some original reporting.
Here is unedited interview

Harsha: Hope. INSN got new life after hiatus of few months?

Sage: I think the change in the political situation may be causing renewed interest in INSN activity, including the website. Perhaps the lull inthe process has been broken, with the CPN (M) pulling out of the government.In my personal life, I have been focusing on getting my life in order,and doing my carpentry. I have been dealing with personal life issues,which took all my time, and I could not continue spending time on thewebsite. There were several other people helping greatly with thewebsite, but not all of the time. There was also nobody coming forwardto be a Nepali editor, and because I am not fluent, I could not edit or approve articles in Nepali.There will be an INSN meeting today, which may decide whether thewebsite will revive.

Harsha: Why it was closed at that time?

Sage: It was inactive because of lack of interest among the website team, andtime pressures in everyone's lives to do other work.

Harsha: How INSN came into existence? With what motive?

Sage: INSN came into existence with a meeting in Kathmandu among Nepali andforeign activists who all were interested in democracy and peace. Thereis not a firm and fixed agenda, but there is a general consensus of political views that is large enough to work as a coalition and anetwork for the common causes.

Harsha: Is it a blog or a website?

Sage: It is a website, but it allows comments on the articles, so it may havethe feeling of a blog when there is an active discussion about anarticle. It also has served as a place where documents of all kinds could be found -- from the CPN (M) statements to statements and articles but various NGOs and other organizations.

Harsha: Who were engaged in this website in the beginning?

Sage: Many people in INSN have helped greatly from the beginning. I don't wantto make a list myself, because I would omit many people. But it is surethat Usha Titikshu has provided many photographic essays, and Bela Malikwas instrumental in giving an editorial direction, until her sudden illness one year ago. We also have regular contributors such as Maheswor Shrestha, Pramod Dhakal, and Moti Chamling. For a while, Rewati Sapkotawas providing timely news articles. We have also had help in translating from Nepali to English from several people, and technical help fromseveral people.

Harsha: We know Royal government cut internet connection for about a weekon 1 Feb 2005. http://insn.org/ow INSN could post comments and web links related to the coup next day? How It worked after 1 February 2005?

Sage: I flew out of Kathmandu on the day after the coup, and from Boston andGeneva I was able to make posts related to the royal takeover. I also had exported photographs and information with me in a USB drive. There was a great amount of information about the coup from other sources inthe international media as well, even while the internet was blocked within Nepal. The embassies and UN also had internet connections viasatellite, which helped in getting information from Nepal.

Harsha: How did you take the blocking of website? Did this action popularize the site ?

Sage: We took the road of publicizing the blocking of the website, along with Samudaya.org which was also blocked, to protest about censorship in thepress generally. We stand for freedom of information and freedom of the press, so it is natural that we apply the same principle to our ownwebsite. We also used the numerical IP address of the website() to allow people in Nepal to access the site. Thegovernment of Nepal had forced the internet service providers to blockthe name of the website, but they were not able to block the numeric URL.I think that being censored did popularize the site. This is good,because it proves that censorship does not work easily. If some personor group is speaking truth or providing an open forum for dialogue, thenit is clear that shutting it down is a symptom of autocracy, and it only proves that the emperor has no clothes.

Harsha:How it was operated in time of blocking?

Sage: When the website was blocked, it was operated normally, except that alllinks were changed to the numeric IP address instead of "insn.org ", andwe publicized the numeric address to allow people to view it.

Harsha: Do you think that people forget INSN while speaking about media's role after 1 Feb 2005 Royal coup?

Sage: I don't know. I don't think that the INSN website is a major mediaoutlet about Nepal. I think it has a role and a place as a grassroots outlet for opinions and information, but it is not a major media operation like Kantipur or Samaya or any other publications. In my opinion, it is more for consumption by the international audience, whogets their news about Nepal on the internet, and who also want to see the statements from NGOs and the special photo essays and point of viewof INSN.org.

Harsha: Can you tell us through which process an article goes before it ispublished?

Sage: Some regular writers simply get approved by a single person on thewebsite team. When there is an article from a new author, it may be sentto the INSN website email list for comments from many people, and then there is a general consensus to publish it or not. It is often apractical matter, where whoever receives the article makes their own decision. On occasion, there has been internal controversy after anarticle was published. Then, the article was removed until we had someinternal discussion about it. There is not a single formula, but ingeneral, the INSN.org website publishes many points of view, even when it may not agree with many of the website team's opinions. We prefer topublish and then have discussion, instead of having some kind of "partyline" or single point of view.

Harsha: Tell us about your readers.

Sage: Judging from the comments, readers seem to be many non-resident Nepalis around the world, as well as non-Nepalis who are interested in Nepal.Some seem to be Maoist supporters around the world, while others seem tobe very strong anti-Maoist people. Most seem to be somewhere in the middle, however. There are also many readers who do not post comments,who may work in NGOs or government offices who do work relating toNepal. Many people report in personal communications that they have used INSN.org as a resource in learning more about the situation in Nepal.The website team has been proud of fulfilling this role.

Harsha: Tell us more about INSN team.The INSN.org team is a subgroup of the INSN network.

Sage: There are about 30people on the INSN.org website team, although most of those people donot work actively. Some have worked very actively for a short period of time, and others have provided opinions and comments when they havethem. The website team seems to be about one third Nepalis in Nepal,one third non-resident Nepalis, and one third non-Nepalis both insideand outside Nepal.

INSN.org was banned
Access to this website was blocked in Nepal on 1 July 2005 by the Royal Nepal Army's orders to Internet Service Providers. See RSF statement , INSN.org statement , and Kantipur Online article . We are mirrored at for access in Nepal, if your provider blocks access. This ban was lifted in May 2006 after the partial victory of the People's Movement. If you cannot access INSN.org from your ISP, please call them to ask to unblock access, and let us know, email webmaster@insn.org.


photo source:

23 September 2007

Janadisha, Nepali Daily is Back

By Harsha Man Maharjan

On 18 September 2007 CPN (Maoist) quit the government.

On the same day people saw a sample issue of daily Janadisha which supports CPN(Maoist).
The sample issue was supposed to be free. But bookshop owner asked me Rs. 5. He told me that it was for transportation he used to get papers. I gave him the money.

In the place it has written 7. This daily was found in market until the government declared state of emergency on 26 Novemnber 2001. Journalists related The Janadesh Weekly, the Janadisha Daily and also the Disabodh Monthly etc supporting CPN(Maoist) were imprisoned. Human rights organizations claim that its editor Krishan Sen was killed in police custody.
Now Govinda Acharya is its editor. This sample issue contains vacancies for reporters at Kathmandu and other districts. It is supposed to come on this week.

Hope this paper will go for peaceful movement and dialogue.

links on Krishna Sen and Janadisha

20 September 2007

Baring Fox TV Channel

By Harsha Man Maharjan

On 16 september I got chance to watch Robert Greenwald‘s documentary Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism. So far as I know this documentary is unavailable in Nepali market.

Michael Moore’s documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11 that came in same year, 2004, is easy to find in different video parlors here. I must thank Saphala for providing me the documentary. Recently she returned from the US. And she brought it into Nepal.
It was BBC TV’s program Talking Movies that informed me about the documentary. I wanted to watch it on the same day.

Talking Movies informed me that that the documentary unveils one-sided news of Fox news channel. It opposed Clinton government and supported Bush government. In the documentary, Greenwald and his team have found certain techniques that Fox TV uses like conservative experts.

Other way is to dominate and humiliate speakers. I have seen no news and talk host in Nepal who humiliate their speakers. But it is the rule in Fox TV. In one program Bill O'Reilly, a host demoralized and bullied Jeremy Glick a young man whose father was killed in the attack on 9/11. Bill O'Reilly shows anger on Glick‘s anti-war sentiment.

It is said that “Fair and Balance” is the motto of Fox tv. What this documentary shows through its own footage is this is wrong.

Formers media workers of Fox TV and media critiques speak about Fox‘s biased reporting in the documentary. The memo of news editorial chief, John Moody which he gave to his employees shows the true color Fox TV.

In Nepalese context it is difficult to find this kind of corporate control in media. But we have government-owned media supporting views of Minister of Communication and Information, and partisan media blindly support particular political parties and their fractions.

The documentary urges viewers to use different news sources and come at own conclusion. It also requests to complain at FCC if people think media are presenting biased news. Nepalese also need to do same thing.

Beware of media. Coz media power is a political power as Ben Bagdikian says. And power corrupts us.


19 September 2007

No BBC World Service in 103 Mhz

By Harsha Man Maharjan

For few days there is no BBC World service in 103 Mhz. I came to know about this yesterday.
After Maoist quit the government I was searching authentic voice of CPN (Maoist).
I tuned 103 Mhz in my mobile phone and I was surprised to find Radio Nepal in place of BBC world service.

On 19 September 2007 Khagendra Nepali, former BBC Nepali Service Head was the guest lecture in our class. During the interaction he informed us that it might be a technical problem.

According to BBC's website BBC Nepal service can be heard through following FM radio:
Radio Sagarmatha 102.4 FM in Kathmandu; Radio Kalika 95.2 FM in Bharatpur, Chitwan; Radio Birgunj 99 FM in Birgunj; Radio Annapurna 93.4 FM in Pokhara; Radio Himchuli 92.2 FM in Pokhara; Radio Lumbini 96.8 FM in Manigram; Butwal FM 94.4 in Butwal; Radio Saptakoshi 90 FM in Itahari and Radio Bheri 106.4 FM in Surkhet.

18 September 2007

INSN: End of Power Nap

By Harsha Man Maharjan

At last INSN is ALIVE. Hope it was a power nap. After many months of hiatus it got life. Congrats INSN.

This website played important role after Feb 1 2005 coup. The coup compelled INSN to change its course. It was suppose to focus on foreign relations of Nepal.

It is the first website to post Usha Titichhu's photo of army controlling the station of Radio Sagarmatha.on Feb 1 2005. It gave space to post dissenting voices.

We still need INSN. There is still long way to go.

Pls visit the website and send your comments, articles.

It contains articles by Maheswor Shrestha. Thanks to him and team of this website.

04 September 2007

Sagarmatha Television: "Get Me a Murder a Day"

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Live ‘exclusive’ of Sagarmatha Television on the occasion of serial bomb blasts in three palaces of Kathmandu on 02 August 2007 reminded me of the title of Kevin William’s book Get Me Murder a Day.
This book presents history of mass communication in Britain.“Get Me a Murder a Day: the Northcliffe Revolution and the Rise of the Popular Press” is the title of its chapter 3. This chapter tells how sensational newspaper and magazine started in late 19th century and early 20th century in Britain.

Like print media in Britain at that time, Sagarmatha TV presented the bomb blast incident in sensational way. It showed raw footage of blast at Tripureshow that was captured just few minutes after the blast. That footage was terrifying. People were thrown here and there. There was a charred (?) person who seemed to be killed at the spot. Sagarmatha TV telecasted this unedited footage naming it a rare footage which only the TV channel had.

This is the first incident that Sagarmatha got to telecast live. Till 1 August 2007, it lacked materials and was reading newpapers’ articles to cover its time. So the tv channel took these incidents as a golden opportunity to show its talent. It gave not a fig that these kinds of gory footage can terrorize people.

Other Nepali FM and tv channels were informing people that bomb blasting took place at three places. But Sagarmatha was repeatedly saying people that blasting took place in four places. Till 8’o clock, Sagarmatha was informing same information. It only terrified people in the name of informing them about the blasts.

02 September 2007

Nepali Bookshops Cheating Prices of Foreign Books

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Today I visited Bhrikuti Pustak tatha Masalanda Bhandar, a book shop near Ratna Rajya Campus at Kathmandu. I bought few books for Martin Chautari Media Documentation Centre. There I saw Douglas Kellner 's Media Spectacle. I asked its price. I had already bought it from Mandala Book Point on Nepalese Rs. 1904 few days ago. Actually my interest was to know the price of the book. I know this shop keeps high rate for foreign books. What they do is check internet and put the price accordingly.

Could you believe the price a guy in Bhrikuti told me ? It is Nepali Rs. 2975. I had discussed about this issue with Anjan Shrestha, owner of Educational Book House, few months before. He was aware of Bhrikuti's behaviour. He told me that generally his rule is to put price according to what he has paid for books.

That means Bhrikuti is placing high price for foreign books. It is unfair. If you don't believe about this, please check price of a foreign (not indian) publication in few bookshop. You will come with different prices. This happens if the book is published by Sage, Routledge etc.

Readers must be aware of this. Other books shops migbt be indulge in same kind of cheatings. Readers beware.