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.

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