08 November 2007

Drama ! Simulation ! Rehersal ! Dummy of Sajha Sawal

By Harsha Man Maharjan

People were waiting with abated breath on 7 November 2007 at Martin Chautari discussion hall. What they only knew was some one was playing the role of prime minister of Nepal, Girija Prasad Koirala and BBC World Service Trust was supposed to this. Friends at MC had hoped for a simulation of parliament.

Later during the program Narayan Shrestha, radio journalist who left Radio Sagarmatha for the BBC World Service Trust, told us that they were taking interview with the PM after few days and they were rehearsing that interview at MC. Copy Editor Sharad Chandra Wasti acted as the PM. Shrestha and Sushil Sharma, journalist related to BBC Nepali Service were grilling the PM.

In radio jargon they were recording a dummy copy of the program, Sajha Sawal. BBC World Service Trust will air this program and UNDP supported it. Trust is going to air radio programs targeting Constituent Assembly.

During the program organizer requested s to question the PM. They aired recorded questions from different parts of country. They even entertained phone calls from two places outside Kathmandu. The organizer did them from Martin Chautari office. Program host Shrestha encouraged audience to put question though the organizers had managed few people to do so.

I have never heard other media organization making dummy copy of their program. Radio program production manual urges to make dummy copies. It helps in reducing problems that might crop up during the program.

The program at MC showed poor quality of phone call. That means they have to improve it in real program.

The organizer wanted to know question pattern of audience. It sought feedback from audience after the program. It was in dilemma on which to give priority: national politics or individual problems. Audience were for national politics.

Next Sajha Sawal will be with Maoist leader Prachanda.

07 November 2007

In Memoriam: Journalist Birendra Kumar Shah

Some called him Nepali Daniel Pal.

He is Birendra Shah, a journalist killed by Maoist cadres. He was kidnapped on 5 October 2007 and killed on the same day.

I never meet him. There is a chance. I might have heard his words on Nepal FM without knowing him. He was affiliated to Nepal FM, Avenues TV, Dristi weekly etc.
Now it is clear that Maoist cadre was involved in Shah’s killing. Earlier the CPN (Maoist) had denied their involvement in the incident. Now all fact finding missions tell that Lal Bahadur Chaudhary, Kundan Faujdar , Ram Yekbal Sahani etc are responsible for shah’s killing.

Chadhari was Maoist Area In-charge of Bara District. Other alleged people are also well known Maoist supporters.

But Maoist top leaders are requesting not to take this accident as party’s policy and not to malign the party with this incident.

This reminds me of Nagarkot incident of 14 December 2007. On that day a drunken army Basu Dev Thapa deputed at Nagarkot army barrack opened fired on the civilians at the premises of Shree Kalidevi Temple killing 12 civilians. 19 people sustained injuries in that incident. At that time Royal Nepal Army requested us not to take it as the action of the whole Royal Nepal Army. But no body heeded RNA.

That means Maoist leader must take responsibly of what its cadre did.

Now it is time to discuss on discipline of Maoist leaders and cadres.
Questions arise:

How does the party educate its leaders and cadres ?
Who becomes leaders and how?
Is its cadres and leaders under its control?

On Nagarkot Incident:

05 November 2007

Make Public the Report of High-level Taskforce on Restructuring and Autonomy of Government Media in Nepal

BY Harsha Man Maharjan

It was not supposed to end like this.
I had pinned hope on this. Hope that it would come up with ways of restructuring state media in Nepal.

Nepali government formed a task force to materialize suggestions of High Level Media suggestion Commission about state media in December 2006. It was supposed to present its report to government in two months.

And it has already handed its report to the government. There was no mention about this in media. The government has not made it public.

When I asked about the report, Dhurba Hari Adhikari, a member of the task force informed me that the task force handed its report in his absence. He requested me to call Ministry of Information and communications.. There telephones always remained busy. So I called Badri Bahadur Karki, task force’s chair. Karki informed me that he handed its report in Asar that means about three months ago. He even requested me to knock the door of ministry of information and communication.

Why this kind of silence ? Why is government not making it public ? Questions arise. Answer is simple. Recommendations of task is unfavorable to present government. Without studying the report, people can guess its recommendation. The task force has mandate to materialize recommendations of media commission and the commission had suggested to quit government’s involvement in all state media. But present government is unwilling to do so. It is still interested to meddle with these media.

Where are our rights to information? We have all rights to know recommendations of the task force.

Previous posting on the issue:

Future of High-level Taskforce on Restructuring and Autonomy of Government Media

Last Chance: Restructuring of State Media in Nepal

High Level Media suggestion Commission