07 December 2007

Nepalese FM Radios in the hands of Political Parties: Trends and Implications

By Harsha Man Maharjan

A discussion is in the town in media sector: political parties are owning FM radios.
Is this a new phenomenon?

No. These parties are publishing weekly papers. They lack readers. Their health is poor.
Now what will happen to these FM radios? Will they become the propaganda tools of parties? Only future can tell.

The Kathmandu Post published a news about the political parties owning forty FM radios in Nepal. This news started discussion this issue.
I think FM radios be they community and commercial are mostly elite-captured in Nepal. And political parties leaders are elites in there hometown. Besides this, it is easy to get FM radio licenses with their political clout. It is difficult to find community in community radios in Nepal.

TKP’s news introduces Rishi Raj Lumsali as a UML leader and brands his Shuklaphanta FM, Kanchanpur as UML FM radio. But he told me that he has left politics and wants to remain independent. He even named TKP’s journalism as ‘yellow journalism’.

So is the case with Narayan Prasad Sharma and his Radio Madhya Paschim, Dang as a Maoist FM. Yes Sharma is a MP nominated by the CPN (Maoist). But the CPN(M) nominated him as a independent MP from civil society. Then, how correct is it to call him a Maoist.

What can be the motive of TKP in bringing this issue out ? We know the Kanitpur FM is on the road to be a national radio as the Radio Nepal. I think it want to send a message to its readers that only we are ‘neutral’? That means commercial FM radios are the best among other kind of FM radio.
Is neutrality possible? I doubt on this.