24 December 2009

Road ahead for Alternative Book Fair


Here is my aricle on alternative book fair published today in Republica

The book exhibition of not-for-profit publishers, Alternative Book Fair, ended on Dec 14. Himal Association organized the fair from Dec 10 at Sabhagriha, Kathmandu. Fourteen NGOs participated in the fair. However, they were dissatisfied with the flow of visitors. What went wrong? The organizer and the organizations that participated in it have been forced to think about it. Martin Chautari, the organization I am associated with, also participated in this fair. The ideas I am presenting in this article is the result of my interaction with friends and my observation of five days at the fair. Martin Chautari has been participating in this fair since the first edition, which was organized in 2005.DEFINITION: INTERPRETATIONA friend of mine entered Sabhagriha when he saw a banner of Alternative Book Fair at the front gates. He had assumed that Sajha Prakashan had once again organized a book fair like it had done a few days earlier. But he could not make out what the word alternative stood for. I also saw a student asking his friends about the meaning of Alternative Book Fair. This is a fair of not-for-profit book publishers. It started in 2005 as a bid to uplift and popularize books published by NGOs/INGOs. I think this is alternative in two ways.
One reason to for using the term ‘alternative’ is the not-for-profit nature of the whole affair. Mainstream publishers are commercial and their sole interest is to seek and earn profit. Some of the not-for-profit publishers have been producing books of good quality which would have been expensive if the same were published by commercial publishers. Some NGOs even distribute books for free.Another reason is related to the fair itself. It is alternative as it is another version of the main fair Global Exposition and Management Services Pvt Ltd, in which many small booksellers and publishers shun from participating as the rate of the stalls are exorbitant. However, the rate of stalls for the Alternative Book Fair is far cheaper.UNINTERESTED ORGANIZERSHimal Association was the sole organizer of Alternative Book Fair 2009, which was unprecedented in the history of the fair. In the first fair, there were nine organizers: Martin Chautari, Himal Association, Room to Read, Rato Bangla Kitab, CWIN, Action Aid Nepal, INSEC, CNAS and Bagar Foundation. Martin Chautari came up with this idea at first. It did consultation with other organizations and other eight organizations agreed to be the organizers. But Martin Chautari took all the responsibility to organize the fair. It planned the inauguration and closing programs. It worked as the secretariat for the fair. All organizers did different activities to attract visitors. Rato Bangla and Room to Read arranged student visits for different schools, and Room to Read earmarked reading space for children in the fair. It was evident that all organizers were full of zeal.In the second edition of the fair in 2006, the number of organizers went down to six. Three organizations – CNAS, Bagar Foundation and Rato Bangla Kitab – not only stopped being organizers; they were unwilling to even participate in the fair. Even so, Room to Read and others continued to play significant roles to increase the flow of visitors. Martin Chautari did programs related to publishing everyday in cooperation with Fine Print. In 2007, the fair was not organized. In 2008, Himal Association and Martin Chautari were the organizers. It was organized as a part of Film Festival organized by Himal Association. Books were launched during the fair. These kinds of activities helped to publicize the fair in the media.However, in 2009, the flow of visitors to the fair was remarkably low. The participating organizations complained that Himal Association did not give sufficient interest to publicize the book fair. It was engrossed with films only. Nobody inaugurated the book fair. It had never happened before. No publicity efforts were made to attract attention of the media and visitors. Though Jagadamba Publication brought out a new book by journalist Kanak Mani Dixit it was launched in Yala Maya, Patan, not Jagadamba’s stall at the fair. If Jagadamba Publication had launched the book at its stall at the fair, that would have attracted more visitors. This shows lack of coordination between the organizers and participating organizations. It also shows lack of homework on the part of the organizer.My primary concern is the disinterest of NGOs to be partner organizers of the book fair. Ideally, the fair should be organized through cooperation of NGOs/INGOs. That demands a lot of homework before the fair. All participants must consider the book fair as their own. However, what has happened is that participation of organizations has decreased.LETHARGIC PARTICIPANTSIn 2005, the number of participants of the book fair was 30. It went down to 25 in 2006. In 2008 it was 28. This year, there were only 14. These figures clearly show that many organizations have stopped participating in this fair. There are many reasons behind this. Some organizations want big sales, which would at least cover the cost of hiring a stall. They are wrong. This fair began with an aim to bring different not-for-profit publishers at one place and share their problems and search for remedies. It also started to take these publications to their target audiences. Its aim was to popularize publications of not-for-profit publishers.Some organizations point out that they lack human resources to oversee their stall. It’s true that this is a problem for many NGOs as they operate with inadequate staff. But some participants are solving this problem. For example, in the latest fair, SAWTEE used a volunteer to manage its stall. What is needed, I think, is coordination among NGOs/INGOs. A lot of NGOs/INGOs have published different materials related to their work and they can make it available to the masses through these kinds of book fairs.WHAT LIES AHEAD?The organizer/s and the participating organizations have to work collectively to popularize the Alternative Book Fair. Himal Association has to evaluate its weaknesses. If this is done, I think we can be happy about the outcome of the next Alternative Book Fair in 2010. The organizer also has to think about the duration. Is organizing the book fair once a year good? Can we organize it once every two years? I think it will be okay if this fair is organized every two years. There are many organizations, which come up with very few publications in a year. They believe that it is worthless to participate in the fair with the same old publications. There is another option too. If an organization has few publications, the organizer has to encourage them to keep a stall jointly with some other organization facing the same situation. Actually, Education Network, a combination of three organizations, has been doing this since the fair’s inception.(Writer is associated with Martin Chautari, a policy research institute in Kathmandu.)


23 December 2009

Alternative Media and Alternative Economic Sources

By Harsha Man Maharjan
2009 is ending very soon. And I am getting mails from Alternative media: Open Democracy, The Center for Media and Democracy, FAIR etc for donation. This is no news. It happens every December. Donation is an alternative economic source of mass media. Usually advertisement is main economic source of media.

In his article What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream Noam Chomsky says that mainstream media sells its audiences to advertisers. Michael Albert has written an article titled What Makes Alternative Media Alternative? Here he has focused on alternatives finance apart from others characteristics.

Open Democracy, The Center for Media and Democracy, and FAIR are alternative media so they are using alternative source of economy. FAIR watches media biases and censorship. Center for Media and Democracy counters PR and Propaganda in media. In Nepal we can’t say which media is alternative and which is mainstream. For example what is different between so-called community radio and commercial radio? When Radio Sagarmatha came into existence it declared that it would air no commercial ads. But this declaration remained for few months. We don’t have audience-supported media.

about FAIR

about The Center for Media and Democracy

What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream

What Makes Alternative Media Alternative?

06 December 2009

Journalism education in doldrums

By Harsha Man Maharjan
Friends here is the original version of my article published in The kathmandu Post yesterday (5 December 2009)

“We have not any school or college for journalism. There is a great lack of books on Journalism in our language though we have published many articles on this subject in different newspapers and magazines”. This is what journalist Shyam Prasad Sharma said about Journalism Education in Nepal. He was speaking in a program organized by International Federation of Journalist in 1962 at Budapest.
Journalism Education began in the US in 1890s. One of the countries in Asian region to begin this education is China. JE started in China in 1920s with the help of US scholars. In India it began in late 1930s. After about four decades of this, JE started in Nepal. It was Ratna Rajya Campus which began JE in 1976. It was under Tribhuwan University (TU). This university was established in 1959. So after 17 years of TU’s establishment, RR Campus offered JE course in Nepal.
But some people demanded JE in Nepal many years before than this. And it is repeated demand that Panchayat government gave consent to start JE in Nepal. One of the early document to demand this education in Nepal was the report of First press commission. This commission was formed in 23 February 1958 to suggest government on development of healthy journalism in Nepal. This report had suggested government to start JE in Nepal. Journalism of pre and post 1950 was led by journalists without training and education in Journalism. This happens in the initial phase of Journalism in many countries. But for development of healthy journalism JE is sine qua non. 1958 press commission demanded four things: to start Journalism Education in a college, to establish Journalism school for journalists, to arrange scholarships to study journalism abroad and to manage field visit in foreign media for journalists to learn more about editing. Even Journalist Association demanded JE in Nepal.
Journalists Lal Dhoj Deusa Rai, Gokul Pokhrel, Bharat Dutta Koirala etc were resource persons in early classes of JE in Nepal. Among them only Rai had passed MA from Culcutta University. According to Rai, the beginning of JE helped to reduce skepticism towards JE among few journalists. Before this, journalists used to think JE as a waste of time and what they believed was only practice makes a good journalist. JE education in RR Campus helped even in establishing Journalism as an academic course which can be learnt from class room too.
In 1976 there were 16 students-14 male and 2 female. Problems were many. There was no department of Journalism in RR Campus till 1979. It was under English department. “We see no feasibility of opening Journalism as a new department” says Rai. There was lack of teaching materials and teachers. And JE was only available there at that time. Students needed to reach this campus. That means it was limited to Kathmandu. In 1980s there were two colleges providing this education-RR Campus and People’s Campus.
In 1991 there was a seminar on the revision and reform of journalism curricula. It was the result of this seminar that Journalism department of RR Campus was renamed as department of Journalism and Mass Communication. Even curricula were changed accordingly. Earlier, curricula were focused to print media. Now content on electronic media was also added. And JE become Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC). Journalism education also began in higher secondary level from 1997. Journalism education started in grade X and IX from 2001. So there is a sea change in terms of availability of journalism education. Colleges and schools outside Kathmandu are offering courses in Journalism in secondary and higher secondary level. There are colleges outside Kathmandu offering Bachelor course of JE. But a lot of these colleges are centered in Kathmandu. From 2001 MA courses of Journalism began in Nepal. There colleges-RR Campus, Kantipur City College and College of Mass Communication and Journalism. All of these colleges are situated in Kathmandu. That means Bachelor and Masters courses are still Kathmandu centric.
This problem evolved with evolvement of national universities. Nepal has opted for the concept of multi universities. There are six universities in Nepal and only three universities: Tribhuwan University, Purbanchal University and Kathmandu University are offering courses in mass communication. These universities were supposed to be regional. All of six universities are working as national universities. If there had been regional universities. Chances are there that few more colleges would have offered BA or MA outside Kathmandu. It would have been easy to monitor affiliated colleges then.
There is lack of teachers with MA degree in Journalism outside Kathmandu. There is a gap of 22 years in starting BA and MA course. So many students with BA degree in journalism could not pursue journalism in MA level. And there is about 190-200 of MA degree holders in JE. Kathmadu allures people from outside of Kathmandu with MA degree with journalism. So there is scarcity of teachers with JE outside Kathmandu. Most of them are MA degree holders in other subjects. HESB demands post graduate degree holder as the prerequisite to be a teacher in Higher Secondary level. But it does not say only people with post graduate degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication are eligible for the teaching. And there is propensity to ask journalists to teach journalism classes. That means these teachers have a little knowledge of theoretical aspect of Journalism.
In 23 June 2006, Chiranjibi Khanal, then head of the Department of Journalism Communication, R. R. Campus under the supervision of Gokul Pokhrel prepared two teaching manuals for XI and XII courses in Journalism. He has suggested three options for teacher’s qualification: a. Minimum second division in masters' degree in journalism and mass communication, or b. Graduate in journalism and minimum second division in any discipline and c. Master in any discipline with hands on journalism training and 15 years experience in journalism field. Khanal’s recommendation makes B.A. degree holders in journalism and experienced journalists or trainers with master’s degree in any subject eligible to be a teacher of Journalism and mass communication. But HSEB has not incorporated his recommendation yet. The data provided by HSEB shows, 210 colleges are offering journalism courses in Higher Secondary level.
There is a problem with teachers’ remuneration too. Shreeram Khanal, a journalism teacher writes in an article that remuneration most of these colleges are providing is low. He even finds no chances of suing these colleges if they don’t provide remuneration as teachers did not have appointment letters and contracts. There is another problem which Khanal doesn’t mention. There is dearth of trained teachers. They have less knowledge of how to teach. Having a MA degree does not provide ideas and techniques. Teachers might have sound knowledge of journalism. But they might be unable to express their feeling. And training reduces this problem
This problem has to do with government policy and donor’s interest too. Nepal has poured big amount of money on training teachers of school. In the book, New Horizon in Education in Nepal, educationist Tirtha Raj Khaniya has wrote that short and long term training for faculty teachers are needed in Higher Education. Recently University Grant Commission has just started to provide training to teacher in higher education. But it has not seen the need of training to journalism teachers. By training it only means that these teachers must have idea of how to teach students. Teachers can get this idea from formal training or seminars etc. Professor Lal Deusa Rai said that he tried to arrange training for journalism teachers but he failed. However he got opportunity to go to International Institute of Journalism, Berlin. This lack of training also ends in poor quality of teaching. Some colleges have arranged training and refreshing training themselves. For example KCC did so.
Even the curricula have problems. They are less practical. In IA level students have to prepare some specimens of news, feature and editorial. And this is not enough. The curricula of Higher Secondary level is no exception. In BA course there is a provision of going internship for two months in media. In lack of coordination between colleges and media institutions, internees are unwelcome in media houses. And if there is coordination nobody has time to teach trainees in these media houses. Result is there is lack of the basic knowledge of journalism: writing, reporting and editing. Yes colleges can’t teach every thing to students. What they should provide is the practical knowledge of the basics of journalism. And this is what our journalism education is missing. Student might have sound knowledge of theoretical aspects of journalism. They lag far behind in practical.
Actually there is a debate going between Academic vs Practical aspect of journalism from the beginning of JE. Even Ram Krishna Regmi told in a discussion program organized by Martin Chautari that colleges can’t create a student totally fit to newsroom. She/he will be fit in the newsroom only after working for few months and media institutions have to cooperate for this. Regmi thinks that media have a responsibility to give platforms to internees. Shreeram Khanal said that Nepalese media institutions are not willing to provide internships. Nepalese media institutions must make internship policies. This kind of internship is the rule in the US. For example The Washington Post has Newsroom Summer Internship Program and every summer it provide internship to journalists as reporters, visual journalists, web producers, news designers, feature designers, information designers and video editors. In Nepalese context, Nepalese media institutions must think about these kinds of internship. If they don’t do this, they should not hope for better and qualified human resources in Journalism and Mass Communication.
In 1980s government had formed the second press commission and what its report said about Journalism education at that time is still valid. According to this report JE lacked practical knowledge and there were scarcity of trained teachers. There is no entity to oversee Journalism and Mass Communication education. As Laxmi Dutta Pant, teacher of JMC writes in his regular column in The Rising Nepal colleges management are minimizing the cost and they are operating classes with poor or no infrastructure. Now what is the solution? Gokul Pokharel one of colleagues of Lal Deusa, who helped in 1970s has demanded Media education council. According to Pokhrel JE is in mess in Nepal and the proposed council will help in improving this mess. His proposed council is similar to Nepal Medical Council. He thinks Media Education Council is needed in Nepal to standardize JE, to evaluate JE, to recommend reference and learning materials, to organize workshops and seminars etc. This kind of entity is not new in the world. In the US there is Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications which oversees education in journalism and mass communication. Countries like Japan, UK and Australia has also formed this kind of institution.
Yes in Nepal JE has become a giant now and Media Education Council is needed to oversee it. Only future can tell how much this institution can help to overcome JE mess. First Nepal must establish the institution to oversee Journalism and Mass Communication Education.

19 November 2009

What a Joke: No R.R. Campus in Census of World Journalism Education Council

Harsha Man Maharjan
1. Campion College
2. College of Journalism and Mass Communication
3. Kantipur City College
4. Kathmandu University
5. Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ)
6. Nepal Press Institute (NPI)
7. Purbanchal University
8. Shepherd College of Media Technology
9. Worldview International Foundation / Nepal (WIF)

These are the programs of Journalism Education in Nepal listed in the census of World Journalism Education Council. What a joke: there is no mention of Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus. We know RR Campus is the first to start Journalism education in Nepal in 1976. I can’t believe that WJEC miss it. The website of WJEC says these are the criteria they enlisted the programs:
1. Published lists and academic articles about journalism education in different regions of the world;
2. Lists of programs provided by the regional association partners drawing on their member lists, conference registrations, and regional studies of journalism education; and
3. Published articles by individual scholars writing about different regions of the world and by keyword searches conducted by team members of online Web sources, including individual program Web sites.

That means they have never crossed upon the article on Journalism Education in Nepal which mentioned that RR Campus is the first college to start this. I know there is no such article. I think article of JE in Nepal is incomplete if it doesn’t mention RR college.


28 October 2009

Watching quotes and news sources

Watching quotes in journalism is uninteresting job for me. I think this requires patience. And P.Kharel is doing this for Media Adhyan journal 5, a journal published by Martin Chautari. He presented his findings in an interaction program organized by Martin Chautari on 22 October 2009.

Kharel found that there is inconsistency in using “” and ‘’. Many of them lack style book. If some have they are not following. What striked a lot during the program is the information there should be direct only if what sources say are important. And anonymous sources should be exception not rule.

24 August 2009

Basics Elements of Journalism is lacking

By Harsha Man Maharjan

We talk big. We have big problems in Nepali media. We know there is cartel among media owners. These owners want to evade trade union in their organizations. What are the remedies? We can’t change these maladies in a day . But small things we can do. This is what I came to know from the program organized by Martin Chautari and Alliance of Social Dialogue (ASD) on 20 August 2009.
What are characteristics of reporters, sub-editors, editors etc ? What is news and newsvalue ? There were the questions I needed to tackle at the exam after I joined Journalism and mass communication. I know these are the basic of journalism.
Yet working young journalists told that desk never consult them during editing. No doubt reporters go to the field and they know the subject best. But people at desk feel uncomfortable to consult reporters. It is against the basic of journalism. Some young journalists informed that people in desk never give feedback to them. “How can we learn?” they questioned. There question is genuine. But these basic of journalism is absent in Nepalese print media.

18 August 2009

Manuscript for Film Development Paid but Not Published. .

By Harsha Man Maharjan
During direct rule of then king Gyanendra, I had heard that film Development Board is preparing a manuscript of film history of Nepal. On 16 August 2009 I met Chetan Karki. He was the author of that manuscript. And the manuscript is still with him. FDB showed no interest on the manuscript.

It is about the role of monarchy for development of cinema in Nepal. This issue is always debatable. Now it is fact that then king Mahendra had special interest in arts and creative activities. And he definitely did contribution for development of cinema in Nepal. There is another factor too. D.B.Pariyar made cinema in time of Mahendra’s father Tribhuwan. Few historian thinks that royalist film historians begin Nepali film history from Aama not Satya Harischandra only to praise then king Mahendra. But nobody can deny that Satya Hrischandr was made in India and Aama is the first Nepali cinema made in Nepal. And then king Mahendra wanted to use cinema as propaganda tool. And he did it. To propagate Aama he organized mobile team to show this film in different places of Nepal.

Chetan Karki is searching publisher for the manuscript. He knows FDB folk would deny his argument. But why are we afraid to give the devil his due?

26 July 2009

Photos of kamana Prakashan

Last week I visited Kamana Prakashan to study early issues of Kamana magazine. These are the photos of slogan written on the wall of flats:

Do its journalists follow these slogan?

14 July 2009

Recommendations of International Media Mission in Nepal on Feb 2009

The following recommendations are based on the assessment carried out by
the members of the International Mission.
5.1 Press freedom violations and safety
1. Police should investigate thoroughly all threats of violence against journalists
and media workers, and the public should be made aware of investigations
and prosecutions to discourage attacks, and ensure an end to
impunity. The International Mission will closely watch progress in the investigations
of the pending cases on the attacks on Birendra Sah, Prakash
Singh Thakuri, Prakash Shrestha, J.P. Joshi and Uma Singh. The Mission
urges all international agencies and governments to raise the issue of
state responsibility during their interactions with the government of Nepal.
2. Press freedom monitoring networks should be strengthened across the
country and specifically in areas outside of Kathmandu. In this regard,
the monitoring system of the FNJ should be maintained and strengthened,
including reporting nationally and internationally on information
gathered, and a central database on press freedom violations should be
established and maintained.
3. Safety training should be provided through existing training organizations
and relevant international organizations. Such training should be
country-specific and accessible to all journalists and media workers in the
4. Media houses should provide basic safety equipment to journalists when
5. Life and health insurance should be provided to journalists, photographers,
camerapersons and media workers, and for their equipment.
6. Support mechanisms to assist threatened journalists and their families
should be strengthened and institutionalised.
7. Safe houses, hotlines, reactive missions and other safety related activities
should be strengthened/ undertaken as needed.
8. Local authorities, judiciary and police should be trained on press freedoms
and freedom on information issues.
9. Linkages between human rights defenders, peace-process mediators, FNJ
and other national media bodies should be strengthened.
10. Political parties should develop positions and concrete measures in support
of media safety and clearly communicate these to their membership
and the public.
11. No journalist should be sacked simply on the basis of his or her political
perspective as long as it does not reflect in the content of his/her work.

5.2 Uma Singh’s murder and pending
1. The International Media Mission recommends that the government invite
competent external parties such as the OHCHR, FNJ, and other NGOs to
assist the police in carrying out speedy, impartial, thorough and transparent
investigations of all threats, kidnappings, disappearances and murder
of journalists and media workers.
2. That the government demonstrate clearly its commitment to press freedom
and freedom of expression through involvement in the investigations
and by working for the establishment of a committee or sub-committee
within Parliament to study all credible cases in which journalists or media
workers have been threatened, kidnapped, disappeared or murdered.
3. That it cooperate with civil society and competent institutions to reach an
accord on how to provide security to journalists and other media workers,
with special attention to the security of women journalists.
5.3 Impunity and investigations into
the attacks of journalists
1. The International Media Mission urges the UN OHCHR to investigate the murder
of Uma Singh as circumstantial evidence suggests she may have been
killed for her role as journalist (a human rights defender) and not over a pending
property dispute as Nepali authorities have been presenting the case.
2. The state is responsible for investigating all the pending cases of murder
and disappearance of journalists. Only thorough investigations and punishing
those guilty can the state put a stop to attack on the media and
3. The growing impunity for those responsible for attacking journalists must
stop immediately. This can be attained by thoroughly investigating and
punishing those responsible for attacks on Birendra Sah, Prakash Singh
Thakuri, Prakash Shrestha, J.P. Joshi and Uma Singh. The Mission also
recommends that the government initiate investigations and actions
against the murderers of Dekendra Thapa.
4. The mission also demands impartial investigations into the murders of all
journalists killed before 2006 and punishing those who were responsible.
5. The attacks on journalists and media companies must end immediately.
Violence against journalists and the media cannot be justified for any reason
in a law-abiding society. Ending violence against the media would
be Nepal’s first step towards democratisation because there can be no
democracy without a free media and vice-versa.
5.4 Media policy and legal reform
1. An inclusive consultative process with the media community, civil society
and other stakeholders should be undertaken to ensure broad and inclusive
discussion on media policy reform and to identify action areas.
2. The new constitution should ensure press freedom and freedom of expression,
and guarantee the independence of media regulatory bodies.
3. Authorities should consider the provision of a regular grant from the state
to the media, either directly in terms of finances or indirectly through tax
relief in accordance with the spirit of the UNESCO ‘Florence Treaty’ – the
Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials;
any such system of support, however, should be based on equitable,
objective criteria applied in a non-discriminatory fashion.
4. The Ministry of Information and Communication should either close or
privatise all state-run media, or turn them into public service media.
5. Support should be provided to national and local authorities to train public
officials on the implementation of new media legislation.
6. Public awareness should be developed regarding the new media and right
to information legislation and voluntary media accountability systems
and capacity building should be provided to the media community and
civil society to monitor implementation of the new laws.
7. The participation of experts should be ensured in all activities relating to
media law and policy reform; despite many of the positive steps Nepal has
made, standards still fall short of international standards.
8. The distribution of public advertisement should be allocated through a
fair and transparent mechanism to both print and broadcasting media.
9. The FNJ legal desk should be strengthened for responding to protection
needs of journalists and media workers. The legal desk will assist in ensuring
enforcement of laws related to the media.
5.5 Broadcast media
1. State radio and TV should be placed under the governance of an adequately
financed independent body, the membership of which should reflect
the diversity of Nepali society.
2. The mandate of public service broadcasters should be to serve the needs
of all groups in society, especially those not being adequately served by
commercial and community broadcasters.
3. The licensing process should be designed to promote diversity in the
broadcasting sector.
4. Frequencies are a public resource and political parties should not control
broadcasting stations. A study should be carried out to assess the ownership
of broadcasting stations.
5. All regulation of broadcasting should be undertaken by an independent
regulatory body.
6. Support should be made available for existing broadcast media, particularly
in the districts, for addressing infrastructure problems and working
towards financial sustainability in the post-donor environment.
5.6 Print media
1. Taxes on newsprint and replacement parts should be lowered and postal
rates reduced.
2. Registration requirements for print media should be removed.
3. Rules on cross-ownership and concentration of ownership should be set.
4. The Audit Bureau of Circulation should be established and supported to
undertake its duties.
5.7 Unions and associations
1. Trade unions should negotiate (not resort to violence) for fair and reasonable
working conditions and employers should seek to implement the
amended Working Journalists Act. Media employers should implement
fair and decent working conditions, which also reflect equal access to recruitment,
work opportunities and promotion for all groups.
2. Support should be provided for strengthening associations, unions and
media organizations at the national and district levels, including for the
secretariats and performance of core-functions (with specific reference to
the FNJ).
3. Gender awareness and mainstreaming should be promoted among media
associations and institutions. Media employers should ensure that
women and members of minority groups are provided equal opportunities
for employment, pay, professional assignments and promotion.
4. The minimum wages and other recommendations made by the committee
for fixing minimum wage should be implemented and should gradually
be extended to all media, irrespective of type and size of investment.
5.8 District media
1. Assistance should be provided for improving communications for media
workers and district media outlets (including telephone, internet, etc.)
2. Assistance should be provided for the training of journalists from marginalized
groups to ensure that they receive the same professional development
opportunities as other journalists, and that they can be properly
represented in the national media.
3. Access to longer-term training opportunities should be provided in basic
journalism skills, as well as specialized areas such as graphic design and
business management.
4. Training of Trainers (TOT) should be undertaken for building a team of
district-based media trainers.
5. Access to modern equipment, including offset printing presses and field
reporting equipment, should be made available through appropriate
6. Options to facilitate improved circulation of the print media should be

Source: http://www.i-m-s.dk/files/publications/1453%20Nepal.web.pdf

10 July 2009

Insecure Public, Lynching and Nepali Media

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Today is the age of 24 hrs news channel. We are viewing news of children kidnapping. So are we watching about the lynching of innocent alleged kidnappers. Why are these incidents increasing? Does it have anything to do with media-boom?

I think it has something to do with media too. Not all. I am not saying media is totally responsible of it. They are disseminating news about the killings, kidnappings and looting. This reporting inadvertently creates of the image of insecure Nepal in people’s mind. People are feeling insecure.
One thing is sure. Media is doing nothing to decrease the rate of lynching. They are not proactive on the issue.

Here I am not resurrecting mass society theory. But we know we are in transitional phase and there is a kind of lawlessness.

02 July 2009

Political Appointment in Government-owned media in Nepal: Business as Usual

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Once again we got chance to see an old drama. There is no difference in its plot. Yes, its actors are different. But drama’s ending is same as previous one.
Yesterday government reshuffled people bossing government –owned media institutions: Nepal Television, Rastriya Samacharsamiti, Gorkhapatra Corporationa and Film Development Board. The cabinet meeting appointed Kundan Aryal as Executive Chair of Nepal Television, Amar Giri as Chair of Film Development Board, Bal Krishna Chapagain as chair of Rastriya Sambad Samiti, and Vijaya Chalise as Executive Chair & Shambu Shrestha as General Manager of Gorkhapatra Corporation. Last time Ministry of Information and Communication was under CPN (Maoist)’s hand. Now it is the turn of CPN(UML). It is filling these posts with those near to its ideology. Many of them are from Press Chautari.

As a student of mass communication and journalism, I have been doing studies on government-owned media in Nepal. I want to find ways to reduce this kind of interference from government. I desire to turn government-owned media to state-owned media institutions. There should be initiation from parliament in these kinds of political appointment. I think it will help to reduce government interference. Do you accept me?

07 June 2009

Leni Riefenstahl and Nepali Newsreels

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Watching Leni’s documentary Triumph of the Will reminded me of Nepalese newsreels and documentaries made before Nepal Television came into existence.

In 1970s panchayat government created Royal Nepal Film Corporation to make films. It made few films and thousands of newsreels. These newsreels were mainly about visit, birth, marriage etc of royal family members. Mobile teams had to screen these newsreels in different places far from Kathmandu during royal visits.

I have seen none of these newsreels. They are languishing in two rooms of Film Development Board. And it is difficult to see them. But I can say they are technically poor. Nepal lacked trained human resource at that time and there might also be scarcity of technical instruments.

Yes, in this context we can’t make technically sound documentaries as Leni did. She had support of Nazi party. All necessary human resources and technical instruments were available at her call.

Recently I watched Leni’s Triumph of the Will. Technically this film is superb. Oh yea, subject is dull. What a hectic job she did by turning about five days of footage of Numberg rally into a documentary of 2 hours. Hats off to her. She was highly innovative director.

About Triumph of the Will and Leni:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_of_the_Will http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leni_Riefenstahl

photo source:


14 May 2009

Beware: It’s War Propaganda

Harsha Man Maharjan

There is a huge uproar in Nepal this week. Unthought-of situations unfolded in political situation. I had not thought that the Maoist will resign from government on 4 May 2009. Neither did I hope to see old footage of the Maoist drilling to its carder of 2 January 2008.

About 4-5 hrs of PM Prachanda’s resignation Image Channel broadcast clips of a video in which he was addressing his cadres. Many people were shocked to see it. Next day other TV channels also broadcasted the footage. The Maoist even organized a press meet to provide its view on the content of the video. The caretaker PM even informed journalists that he would be happy to provide other videos if media needed.

What will the video incident do to Nepal’s peace process? It is difficult to answer. Only future will give that answer.

Actually my interest is with leakage of the video. In a program organized by Martin chautari on media practices, Tirtha Koirala, News and Current Affair Chief of Kantipur Television informed that a guy approached him four days before PM’s resignation with the video. He had no interest in the issue so he informed the guy that he had to ask his MD. There is even a rumor that top leaders of political parties had seen the video before and they withdrew their support of sacking army chief due to that video.

No doubt the video is news worthy. But journalists must deal historical source in its historical context. And media literate people must question media activities. Many people criticized Image Channel for that ‘scoop’: It will only jeopardize peace process. In an article pubished in Nayapatrika, Mahendra Bista, news chief of Image Channel wrote that the channel had no vested-interest in showing that video. If we go through the footage we can clearly see that it is war propaganda. Prachanda was moving heaven and hell to appease Maoist cadres. And till 2 January 2008 then CPN(Maoist) had no hope in peace process. Many things happened in these years.

11 May 2009

old qestions: Master Level II/ HumanitiesJournalism and Mass Communication 2064

Many friends preparing for the exam of masters II year asked me old questions of exam. I searched my collection and found these three papers. I lost questions of electronic media. Hope this posting will be useful for friends.

Tribhuwan University

Master Level II/II Year/ Humanities
Journalism and Mass Communication
Comparative Press Laws and Media System (JMC 511)

Full Marks: 80
Time: 4 hrs.

Candidates are required to give their answers in their own words as for as practicable

The Figures in the margin indicate full marks

Attempt any THREE questions from Group “A” and FOUR from Group “B”

Group A 3x16=48

Describe the main features of ASEAN and SAARC media and legal systems with special reference to Nepal.
What are the characteristics of conventional and modern theories of press laws? Explain with suitable examples.
Which clauses of the press laws of UK have inspired laws of developing countries like Nepal? Give examples.
Critically analyse the media system in UK and USA. How do the media systems in these countries compare and contrast with the media in China?

Group “B” 4x8=32

Explain prior restraint and the functions of print and electronic media.
Critically examine the Defamation Act of India and Pakistan.
Compare and contrast the law of privacy and liability for physical harms in Europe and USA.
Explain the historical development of the press Council in Nepal and refer to the recent ethical media practices in the country.
Why are the issues of libel and privacy more sensitive in media exercise? Explain with examples.
Describe western systems and existing press provisions.

Tribhuwan University

Master Level II/II Year/ Humanities
Journalism and Mass Communication
Development Communication and Journalism (JMC 517)

Full Marks: 100
Time: 4 hrs.

Candidates are required to give their answers in their own words as for as practicable

The Figures in the margin indicate full marks

Attempt any THREE questions from Group “A” and FOUR from Group “B”

Group A 3x20=60

Describe the issues of emerging in the field of development communication.
Delineate the difference between development communication and development support communication.
The low density of broadcasting media in developing countries constraints the process of development communication in these countries.
What is the impact of 3-year National Communications Plan 1971-1973 on the development of media organization and institutions in Nepal.

Group “B” 4x10=40

Asian Perspective vs liberation perspective on development communication. .
Environmental Journalism is a highly specialized form of development journalism. Discussed briefly.
Legal framework of broadcasting development communication in Nepal.
Alternative paradigm of development communication.
The Bagmati River has become source of multiple issues of urban environmental degradation in Kathmandu Valley. Why?
Public broadcasting system has better prospects in rural development communication than state broadcasting system. Discuss very briefly.

Tribhuwan University

Master Level II/II Year/ Humanities
Journalism and Mass Communication
International and Inter-Cultural Communication and Media(JMC 506)
Full Marks: 100
Time: 4 hrs.

Candidates are required to give their answers in their own words as for as practicable

The Figures in the margin indicate full marks

Attempt any THREE questions from Group “A” and FOUR from Group “B”

Group A 3x20=60

How the culture of a society is reflected in social communication patterns (verbal and non-verbal) ?
What role do media play in intercultural and international communications?
How the idea of free flow of information interacted with modernization theory and the idea of New World Information and Communication Order?
Describe how the politics is replaced by economy as a driving force in the world of media and communication.

Group “B” 4x10=40

What are the main ingredients of a society’s culture ?.
What is media internationalization? Discuss.
How strong are decentralization trends in media at present?
What are the differences between ‘ITU’ and UNESCO’s visions of information society?
What difficulties do you usually face while interacting with foreigners ?.
Describe how the introduction of new technologies has changed Nepali media and society.

25 February 2009

Good News Now They don’t have to Care about Sun and Rain

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Whenever I have time I like to rummage in huge chunks of books in second hand bookshops. Many of these bookshops sell textbooks. And these books are in demand.
But I am always in search of rare books or reports on Nepal. Who knows what is perching in a dark corner of the shop. You may find a gem. This searching is adventurous.

Second hand book stalls at pavement on the wall of RNAC building were my sources. Now they have shifted to the back of this building. It is not easy for shop owners. They have to care about rain, wind, and sun. That’s why they hangs long plastics over their stall and put books on plastic so that they can wrap them in time. Yet rain damages their books. And they have to supply damaged pieces to Kawadi.
For some book owners this condition has changed. Especially three brothers of Nawaraj and Bharat have opted for rooms to open shops. It is not easy for them. Now they have to pay rent from Rs. 3000 to 5000 per month. But they don’t have to bother about heat, wind and rain. Yes, there is a problem of load shedding. Nawaraj and his brothers’ shop is languished inside room. We need to pass a long passage to reach it. And they have managed lamps.