02 October 2007

Politics of Omission in Nepalese Journalism

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Kantipur TV gave priority to a speech by Salikram Jamakattel on 1 October 2007 in its evening news. He was speaking near Kantipur complex after the publication suspended 9 agitating workers and the agitating workers’ vandalized publications’ vehicles and press.

In a footage he was saying Nepali people would lose nothing in absence of Kantipur Publication’s publications and Kantipur TV. He even challenged to stop KTV in four days and to physically attack owners if workers’ demands are not met. The news highlighted other parts of his speech too.

But it ignored other important parts. Students of Journalism and mass communication might raise questions: Are you mad? How all information of a speech can be incorporated in a news?They might doubt I am a student of mass communication and journalism.

This issue is far complicated than what we think. It is not a question of editing. This becomes clear to me after I listened to Sarad K.C’s reporting on the same speech. He even included that Jammakattel was still positive to talk.

So why KTV did not tell about this to its audiences? The answer is simple it wanted to create negative image of the agitating worker’s and Jamakattel. This way it can neglect workers’ genuine demands. Till Kantipur has not told its readers about its workers’ demands.

This can be said as highlight journalism. Here media organizations pick certain part of somebody’s view to grind their own axe.

It was so even in the case of opposition of Foreign Direct Investment in Media by Nepal Media Society few years ago. At that time NMS provoked its audience to boycott The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post. In it ensued incidents these newspapers were burnt and media organization was vandalized.

We got to read two opinions of same people after going these two papers and media of Nepal Media Society at that time. These two papers focused on condemnation of vandalization whereas others highlighted on condemnation of FDI in Nepali media. It is all media politics and audience should be aware of this.

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