Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gorkhapatra Corporation Act 2019 v.s: An Analysis

Here is my working paper I prepared in 2007.

People took the Gorkhaptra Sasthan (GS) as a government-owned media institution. They are not wrong. On many occasions it has performed like that. From its beginning it has always spoken mind of rulers: Ranas, political parties in government, king etc.

This paper tries to find reasons for its biased and establishment-oriented reporting (Rana 1982). Here I will analyze provisions of the Gorkhaptra Corporation Act 2019 (1963). This act was amended for several times. Yet its main issues of political appointments remained unchanged. A loophole in the act gave rulers a way to exclude general people from participating in decision making process. In this paper I will argue that real intentions of ruler was and is never to make the organization autonomous though there might be some provisions to include private sector. The first part of this paper is about background of the GS. Next part discusses provisions of the act. At last there is a conclusion.

Background of the Gorkhapatra Sasthan
The GS has direct relation with the Gorkhaptra, oldest newspaper in Nepal. This newspaper was started in 1901 with a special decree as a mouth piece of the Rana government. Press Commission 2014 (1957) requested government to stop the Gorkhaptra ( Press Council Nepal 2060 v.s ). This shows people’s contempt towards the GS in post 1950s. Yet Nepalese governments after 1950s kept on misusing it.

In 1961 King Mahendra assumed power. He merged two independent news agencies and formed Rastriya Sambad Samiti. In this scenario the Gorkhapatra Corporation Act was enacted and the Gorkhaptra was turned into an autonomous corporation in March 1963 by a special Act. (Pokharel and Koirala 1995). Later it started to publish other newspapers, magazines etc. Thus it has become a publishing house. Today people are requesting government to turn it into a public media house.

Its two publications: Gorkhaptra and The Rising Nepal always work in the side of people in governments. It was mouth-piece of panchayat government. After 1990 movement there was popular demand for providing autonomy to the GS. But governments never fulfilled this demand. During state of emergency in 2001 it sided with the government (Bhattarai 2004). It did same after Royal take over after 1 Feb 2005 (Paudyal and other 2007). And it is repeating the same mistakes. There are some weaknesses in the act which create environment for this kind of misuse.

Gorkhapatra Sasthan Act 2019 v.s and Its provisions
No act remains forever. It needs amendments to incorporate changes in organizations. The GS act was amended in different political situation. Till 2007 January it was amended for five times. But every time it did were cosmetic changes. Governments never took major steps to close ways to stop government control in the GS. People demanded to make this organization public media organization. Their demands went unheard and unfulfilled.
We can discuss the act in following topics:
a. Autonomy
Autonomy of an organization is a contentious issue. When an organization becomes autonomous? Legally mentioning the term in any act is not enough. What we need to see its autonomy is in practice. The act says the GS an autonomous organization. Article 3 of the act defines the GS as an autonomous organization. What that autonomy means is that it can own properties and participate in legal activities. That means its autonomy only provides it legal identity and it does not stop government interference.

Yet the GS has to take permission from government to purchase, sell and mortgage property in some situations. According to article 18 of the act it must seek permission from government before buying properties of worth Nepali Rs 10000,000 or more, to mortgage its properties for more than ten years and to sell its properties of worth Nepali Rs 5,00000 or more. That means the provision of article 18 reduces the GS’s rights to do business defined by article 3. It is like doing business under the supervision of father who thinks his child is not grown enough to do business of large amount. And the child still needs his supervision.

We know Rana started the Gorkhapatra to disseminate their views. At that time it was run through the mindset of the Authoriatarian media system. In this system governments not only control other media even start their own to counter others (Siebert 1956).

At this situation we could hardly think about autonomous media institution. In the Gorkhapatra Sasthan’s case it was established in Panchayat system. In a way it is the period of absolute monarchy. Every thing was under the king. Democratic governments after 1991 never stopped the role of the business man I discussed before. To link the role of the GS in democratic political setup we have to depend on John Nerone. He equates concentration of media in any institution and entity as a form of authoritarian media system (Nerone 1995).

b. Popular Participation:

Participation gives feeling of owning to people. There are very few ways of people participation in media organizations and their programs. They can give feedback to programs through letters, phone calls, email etc. These days there are SMS polls and interaction program in tv channels where people participate. But this is limited participation. Full participation is to having a say in media houses’ policy, plans and programs.

Article 4 of the GS act has made a way for people participation. It has a provision of flouting its share to its staffs and general people. It has made obligatory to distribute 25 percent of its share to its staff and remaining to general people after keeping 50 percent by government.

When Panchayat government enacted this act, government could keep 60 percentages of the total share and sale remaining to general people and cooperatives (Shree Panch ko Sarkar 2019 v.s). This provision was changed to 51 % for government, 25 % for staff and remaining to general people in 2028 v.s amendment ( Shree Panch ko Sarkar 2028 v.s). This provision is still alive. But no governments dared to sell the shares of the Sasthan.

c. Executive Committee: Political Appointment.

The act has made a provision of a five member-executive committee. Original act enacted in 2019 v.s had made provision of 9 members (5 from government and 4 from others). It had also mentioned that till government did not sell share to others, government would appoint all the members of executive committee (Shree Panch ko Sarkar 2019 v.s).
When it was amended in 2028 v.s, it made a provision of a five member-executive committee that is three from government and two from other shareholders (staff and general people). It even mentioned that government did not sell share to others it could appoint all executive members (Shree Panch ko Sarkar 2028 v.s). Now owing to this act government appoints all members. That’s why we see change in these people as there is change in government. Even journalists and editors are changed when government changes. It also affects in journalism. In this situation professional journalism is a day dream.

Even National Communication Policy 2049 v.s (1992) urged government to flout shares. This process is also linked with executive committee. If there had been distribution of share as the act says, there would have two members in executive committee from staffs and general people. That means there was possibility of opposition to government from two members of executive committee. This was a mechanism to check and balance governments’ action in side the GS.

As said above the governments never did this by citing another provision of the act. This act has a loophole too. Till government don’t flout share to others, government can nominate all members of executive committee.

So to make the GS independent media organization, the act must be amended. The government must decide to make it autonomous in real sense. Today people are demanding to make this corporation a public media organization. For this government has to frame new act. Old one is not enough.

Bhattarai, Binod. 2004. Nepali Press Under Emergency: A Survey of the First Six Months. Kathmandu: Himal Books
Pokharel, Gokul Prasad. 1995. Mass Media Laws and Regulations in Nepal. Kathmandu: Nepal Press Institute.
Poudyal, Badri and others. 2000. News in Crisis: A Study of the State of the Nepali Press During the King’s Rule (February-April 2005). Kathmandu: Himal Books.
Press Council Nepal. 2060 v.s. Press Commission Report 2015 v.s. In Prakashan Ko Digdarshan. pp. 266—383. Kathmandu: Press Council Nepal.
Nerone, John. 1995. Authoritarianism and Liberalism. In Last Rights: Revisiting Four Theories of the Press. John Nerone, ed. Pp. 31-76. Urbanana: University of Illinois Press.
Rana, Bhola B. Nepal. In Newspapers in Asia: Contemporary Trends and Problems. John A. Lent, ed. Pp. 462-479. Kula Lumpus: Heinemann Asia.
Shree Panch ko Sarkar. 2019 v.s. Gorkhapatra Sasthan Ain, 2019 v.s. Nepal Gazettee, 30 Chaitra.
Shree Panch ko Sarkar. 2028 v.s. Gorkhapatra Sasthan (Pahilo Samshodhan) Ain, 2028 v.s. Nepal Gazettee, 29 Magh.
Siebert, Fred S. 1956. The Authortarian Theory of the Press. In Four Theories of the Press. Fred S. Siebert, Theodore Peterson and Wilbur Schramm. Pp. 9-37. Urbana: University of Illinois.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Media Commissions in Nepal: Past and Present

I am publishing a working I prepared for Masters First in 2006. This paper discusses recommendations of three media commissions. I will be writing these commissions in detail in coming postings. These commissions are authentic text to know condition of Journalism in different periods in Nepal. It also tells how governments tried to deal with new issues. There is lack of analysis in this paper. Remember that it is what a student wrote as a assignment for college.

New media issues emerge as time passes. Issues like media monopoly, foreign direct investment were not in Nepal even before 40 years ago. The government of Nepal have formed three media related commissions and many taskforces in past, to find the ways for these issues. Early two commissions were press commissions. The last commission: High Level Media Suggestion Commission has deadline of 27 Bhadra 2063 (12 September 1, 2006). Most of the recommendations of past commissions and taskforces never came in practice.

I think some of their recommendations are still useful. They would have change the environment of the status-quo media environment in Nepal.

When we trace the history of journalism in Nepal, Sudha Sagar comes in the front. It was published in 1898. (Khatry, Tek 1979) In 1901, Gorkhapatra came to existence. Radio began from 2003 B.S. This was named Nepal Broadcasting and remained for few months. Revolutionaries who fought to overthrow the Ranas regime began broadcasting in 25 Mangsir 2007 B.S. (1951) from Bhojpur. This radio was moved to Biratnagar on 20 Magh and It got the name, Prajatantra Nepal Radio. (Onta, Pratyoush 2004). From 20 Chait 2007, officially Radio Nepal started its broadcasting as Prajatantra Radio Nepal.(Bhattrai Binod 2000). Television transmissions began from January 1985. (K.C, Shayam Bahadur 2000). Today private sector, non-commercial organizations owns print, Radio and TV in Nepal.

Intention of Paper This paper will focus on media commissions that came to existence in past. From these commissions I will trace the historical and institutional development of Nepali media. My emphasis will be on important recommendations of these commissions. The book, Prakashan ko Digdarshan, containing Press Commission Report 1957 and National Press Commission Report 2038 became helpful to me. At last, I will discuss on the issues the High Level Media Suggestions Commission need to rise. I begin from Press Commission 2015 (1957).

Press Commissions 1957
People had experienced the eight years of the Post Rana system when the government formed the first press commission in 2014 v.s. under the chair of Surendra Raj Sharma. It could not work. So the next commission was formed on 10 Posh 2014. Its members were Krishna Prasad Chapagain (Chairman), Renu Lal Singh, Jib Nath Lohani, Gopal Das Shrestha , Manik Lal Shrestha. Ram Raj Paudel and Prakash Man Singh. These seven people had following five mandates:
To study the history of Journalism from 2007 v.s. and recommend measures to develop healthy and responsible journalism in Nepal.
To study the overall state of press in Nepal.
To recommend on the subsidy and facilities that government need to provide journalists, and responsibility of press towards government.
To recommend the ways to make good relation between government and press focusing Press Salahakar Samiti (Press Advisory Committee).
To think over the possibility of Rastriya Sambad Samiti and recommend on the necessary management of Samiti.
The commission sent questionnaires to journalists, writers, teachers, social workers, politicians, business people etc. The commission gave following important recommendations:
Rastriya Sambad Samiti (National News Agency)
In absence of Nepali News agency in Nepal, Indian agency Hindustan Samachar progressed a lot in three years. Therefore, the commission saw Rastriya Sambad Samiti as a pride of the country.

The first news agency, Nepal Sambad Samiti came to existence as a non-governmental initiative on 1 Poush 2016. (16 December 1959). Press representatives of newspapers of Kathmandu like Swatantra Samachar, Nepal Times, The Commoner, Janta , Dainik Nepal, Nepali etc formed it. Journalists: Pasupati Dev Pandey, Manindra Raj Shrestha and Shankarnath Sharma established another news agency on 12 May 1960.

The Panchayat government merged the two news agencies and named it Rastriya Sambad Samiti (RSS) on Feb 18, 1962 (7 Falgun 2018). The adhoc committee of RSS contained Ram Raj Poudel from the Gorkhapatra, Manindra Raj Shrestha from Sagarmatha Sambad Samiti and Govinda Biyogi from Nepal Sambad Samiti.

The commission recommended the government to finance the RSS only for five years. After that, it should be independent. This never happened.

Press Salahakar Samiti (Press Advisory Council)
Focus of this commission was to maintain good relation between journalists and government and the formation of a Press Advisory Council.
This Press Commission recommended an autonomous and independent Press Advisory Council in Nepal. Its members would be peoples from non-government sectors, media people, and intellectual. This council was supposed to oversee complaints against newspapers, to provide government subsidies after classifying newspapers and formulate code of conduct for journalists. On the commission’s recommendation, the government set up a Press Advisory Council in 1969, which a standing judge of Supreme Court headed. Following the recommendations of New Communications Plan 1971, this committee was turned into a Press Council, constituting 12-members in 1972.

Journalism Education and Training
During their field visit and discussion with participant, the members of this commission found few trained journalists in Nepali media. That is why it requested to open a journalist school to provide training to working journalists in Nepal, and even to send students to study journalism abroad under the Colombo Plan. Due to this, study of Journalism in certificate level started in Ratna Rajya Campus in 2033 v.s. Diploma level’s study began in 2038 in same campus. (Rai, Lal Deusa 2063 v.s. ). Masters studies are going on in three campuses: Ratna Rajya Campus, College of Mass Communication and Journalism and Kantipur City College from 2001. Many trained journalists are involved in Nepali journalism today.

Pathetic Condition of Press
Commission also monitored printing presses in Nepal. Their condition was pathetic. Only few of them were in good condition. In addition, mainly family members managed them. That means it was only a family business. It had not gained a professional status. Even they lacked work. Therefore, the commission requested government to take following measures:
· Stop sending the government’s printing works in abroad.
· If press publishes illegal publications, the charge should be on writers or editors instead of the press owners.
· Change in law that had provision of levying more tax on paper import than that of book import.

Reform in Journalism Sector.
The Commission recommended following measures to improve journalism sector:

v Provide subsidy to newspapers on news print, press ink by government.
v Provide government advertisements also to non-governmental print media.
v Give concession to print media on transportation and improve the efficiency of postal service. Provide telephone line to journalists without any deposit.
v Provide press pass to journalists so that they easily get information from government organizations.
v Abolish clause 36 of Press Law 2009 v.s., which authorized government official to prohibit publishing in the pretext of ‘public welfare’.

This commission’s report is a mirror of Nepali media in 1950s. We can find real picture of Nepali media and journalists through this report. It has even praised Nepali journalists for surviving in that kind of smothering condition. There was little help from government. It was harassing journalist instead with vague legal provisions. There was provision no press pass for journalists. This provision started only after 20 Asoj 2015 v.s.. Journalism was a one-man show.
Infrastructure required for prosperous media was also lacking. Transportation facility was poor. There were few industries and even educated people were few.
Actually, we see this kind of picture in media sector in infant age in world.
As mentioned earlier the government fulfilled some recommendations. It kept on misusing government owned media despite people’s will. It is still going on.

Royal Press Commission 2038 B.S.
Social situation was better than 2015 in 2038. The political road that began in 1950 ended in one-party political system in 1960. Owing to Panchayat Regime’s mantra of development and nationalism, many places were accessible. But, the government moved heaven and earth to control recalcitrant journalists. Many pro-democracy newspapers stopped at that time. Moreover, those remained published faced harassment. The government misused state media (Nepal, Kishor 2055 v.s. ).

This situation changed with the referendum in 2036 v.s. On the occasion of 11 anniversary of Nepal Patrakar Sangh, late King Birendra announced that he would form a Royal Press Commission to know the problems of Journalism sector. He formed a Royal Press Commission on 11 Fagun 2037 v.s., under the chairmanship of Trilok Pratap Rana. Its other members were Khadga Man Singh, Pradhuna Rajbhandari, Grishma Bahadur Devkota and the chairman of Nepal Patrakar Sangh. During their tenure, this commission discussed with journalists, peoples related to media organization, and studied report of Press Commission 1957, National Media Policy 2028 B.S., annual reports of Press Council Nepal as well as studies of government and non- government sectors.
Here I will only discuss few important recommendations:

Institiutions to be established to enhance Journalism sector.
a) Establish Royal Nepal Institute of Mass Communication for higher level of training to journalists and provide opportunities to study and have training from abroad to able journalists.
b) Establish Janasanchar Adhyan Sasthan for research about technology and manpower needed for journalism filed in Nepal.

Press council
The commission thinks that it is bad to appoint council members by government. This makes the council loyal to government. It recommended the government to make the council an autonomous and responsible body for audit bureau of circulation. Others recommendations about the council are following:
· Include working journalists and representatives of Nepal Patrakar Sangh in the council.
· Present Council’s annual report in National Panchayat.
· Need to make a provision to provide newspaper compulsorily to council.

Nepal News Agency (RSS)
· Make RSS independent and free from government influence. Though it seems autonomous, the provision of its chairperson, general manager and board of directors being appointed by the government, made this organization loyal to government. (Shakya, Rabin 2001)
· All departments and ministries should buy news from RSS.
· Focus on news from village and districts.
· To end monopoly of RSS, private news agency should be formed.
In present condition, one non-governmental news agency is in existence named: Independent News Service (INS). Hem Bahadur Bista of INS says there is no legal provision to register the news agency. According to RSS Act 2019 v.s, it was illegal to establish a news agency by general people. Its amendment cancelled this provision. Yet there is no legal basis to established new news agency.

Nepal Journalist Association (Nepal Patrakar Sangh)
This association was established in 1952. Only editors were members at that time and it was Kathmandu-centric. The commission recommended including working journalists in the association. This shows that this association was not active at that time. The commission requested the association to provide training to journalist and recommended government to send journalists abroad for scholarship

Gorkhpatra Sansthan (Gorkhapatra Corporation)
The commission recommended the government to increase the circulation of Gorkhaptra, the oldest newspapers still in existence in Nepal, and to collect news from diverse areas. At that time, Gorkhaptra and The Rising Nepal were using RSS news only.

Radio Nepal
The commission mainly related to print media. Yet it had recommended few measures to Radio Nepal. They are as follows:
· RN needs to improve its program according to Audience surveys.
· Give more importance to national news.
· Instead of following protocol, it needed to give emphasis to news value.
· Need to make Radio technology accessible inside Nepal.

Nepal Television
The commissions also recommend doing feasibility study of television broadcast in Nepal. Few well to do Nepali were watching foreign television channels at that time. Nepal television (NTV) began in 1985. Government owned this. Nepali people are blaming government for misusing it. NTV’s monopoly ended after 1990s. Today there are few private TV channels.

High level Media Suggestions Commission 2006
Nepali media changed totally after 1990s. 1990 constitution guaranteed press freedom, freedom of expression, right to information including other fundamental rights. More than this it barred the government from seizing press and cancelling press registration. This encouraged private sector to investment in print media. Kantipur Publication began its papers: Kantipur and The Kathmandu Post in 1993. Others also followed it.
National Communication Policy of 1993 opened broadcasting to private sector. Nepali media thrived in democratic environment. Media freedom came under threat after the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) waged its ‘people war’ in 1996s. Cadres of CPN (Maoist) and Royal Nepal Army harassed Nepali journalists. After the government declared the State of Emergency in 2001, the situation of Nepali media became worse. February 1, 2005 movement of King Gyanendra compelled media to censorship. Assuming executive power, he barred FM radios from airing news. Recalcitrant media were denied welfare advertisement in the name of One Door Policy of Advertisement. This situation changed only after mass revolt in April 2006.

On 13 June 2006, new government has formed a High Level Media Recommendation commission under the chair of Senior Advocate and member of the National Assembly, Radheshyam Adhikari It include a seven members. High level media suggestions commission on June 13, 2006. With Six media experts added later, it has 13 members.

After 1990, governments have formed media reform committees and task forces. Many of their recommendations never materialized.
From the recommendations of these committees and the demands of FNJ, Broadcasting Association of Nepal, Online Media Association Nepal and Save Community Radio Movement, I think the following issues will come in the upcoming commission.

Restructuring of Government Owned Media Organizations.
Electronic Media as public broadcasting service. RSS, GP, Nepal TV and Radio Nepal. This is an important issue. All government misused these media. During April revolution the then government did flagrant misuse of them.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
Long Term Policy on Communication 2059 v.s prevents FDI in print media. It allowed 25 % FDI in electronic media. Nepal Media Society, an organization of few broadsheet dailies waged war against FDI in Nepali media in 2001. They blamed newspapers The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post for FDI. The government committee which was formed to study on this issue made the issue more complicated. It requested government to legally bind media owners to show their source of investment. Until today no media have to show the source of investment in the beginning of their business. Indian government has allowed 26 percent of FDI in Indian media (Paul, Weiss and others 2005).

Media Concentration.
This issue evolved in Nepal with the issue of FDI in media. I think this issue brought
fraction in Nepal Media Society. Kamana Prakashan criticized both FDI in media and
media monopoly. Media power is also a political power. We know how Autralia-born media mugal, Rupert Murdoch used his media in British Politics for Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. Even Italian media mogul, Silvio Berlusconi misused his media for Politics in Italy. (Tunstall, Jeremy and Michael Palmer. 1991).

So media concentration is bad for democracy. Long Term Policy on Communication 2059 v.s has barred one media house from owning three forms of media. Laymen believe Kantipur media house owns the three media.
Legally these three media are under three discrete media houses. Raghu Mainali, a member of this commission thinks to check the media monopoly of the Kantipur media houses, anti- Monopoly Act is needed.

Problems of Working Journalists.
Nepali media did well in after 1990. Yet the condition of Nepali working journalists is worse. Federation of Nepalese Journalists and Working Journalists Struggle Committee (WJSC) are lobbying to amend the Working Journalist Act. They are saying the welfare of journalists should come under Working Act.

Authority for broadcasting and Online Media.
There is no authentic body to watch over broadcasting and online media. There is no guideline to award license for FM radios. New law for online media is required. The new commission must deal with these issues.

Media commissions are authentic documentation of media scenario in Nepal. They show how different media issues cropped up in Nepal and how these issues were treated. If we compare different press commissions, we find that some issues like misuse of government media and the welfare of working journalists are in discussion from 1950s. Still government has not found way out of them.

Bhattari, Binod. 2000. Radio: Sound of Openness. In Media Nepal 2000. pp. 95-121. Kathmandu: Nepal Press Institute.
Birahi, Harihar. Ed. 2060 v.s. Prakashan Ko Digdarshan. Kathmandu: Press Council
K.C., Shayam Bahadur. 2000. Television in Nepal: Opportunities and Changes. In
Media Nepal 2000. pp. 123-140. Kathmandu: Nepal Press Institute.
Khatri, Tek Bahadur. 1976. Newspapers. In Mass-Communications in Nepal. pp. 11-18. Kathmandu: Department of information.
Nepal, Kishor. 2055 v.s. Nepali Patrakarita ko Bikaskram. Kathmandu: Press Council
Onta, Pratyoush. 2004. Radio Nepal Bhanda Pahileko Yug ma Nepali ko Radio
Anubhav. In Radio Nepal Ko Samajik Itihas. Pratyoush Onta et. al. eds. pp. 35-
54. Kathmandu:Martin Chautari.
Paul, Weiss and others. 2005. Foreign Investment in the Indian Media Sector.
http://www.com/files/Publication/a62a66e1-9fac-4ce1-97b1-022f7dc1ed72/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/035d7047-2a25-4f68-aa82-0cc1e5b08a04/MEMO090605.pdf. Accessed on 21 August 2006.
Rai, Lal Deusa 2063 v.s. Snakottar Taha ma Patrakarita/Aamsanchar Sikysa Ratna
Rajya Campus ko Anubhav. Media Adhyan 1: 225-230.
Shakya, Rabin. 2001. RSS: Challenges Ahead. In Media Issues in Nepal. P. Kharel, ed.
Pp. 89-109.Kathmandu: Nepal Association of Media Educators .
Tunstall, Jeremy and Michael Palmer. 1991. Media Moguls. London : Routledge

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tabloid Journalism and Naya Sandesh

There is no systematic study about Tabloid Journalism in Nepal. Usually this journalism defines news as subject related to sex, crime and money. Any people think newspapers like Janaastha and Naya Patrika are doing this kind of journalism.

Once my teacher Lal Deusa Rai informed me that Ramesh Nath Pandey published ‘sizzling’ photos of models in his newspaper. He was telling me about journalism in Panchayat Period. According Rai, Pandy’s newspaper did sensational type of journalism by publishing half-naked photos of women(See pix above). “Pandey did a thelka”, Rai thinks. Rai must be right. Panchayat government did many things to stop ‘harmful effects’ of western culture.

I came upon the very newspaper of Pandey named Naya Sandesh yesterday while going through newspapers at Tribhuwan University Central Library. His news was sensational too. So were cartoons he published. These cartoons were related to marriage and love. Usually photos of models were at the last page. All of these models were foreigner. They must be from western magazines. What a sight few of photos were missing from newspaper. Somebody had cut them(see pix below).

It must be difficult for him to collect these photos. Today these kind photos are easily available in internet and magazines. Naya Sandesh published these kinds of photos in 1970s. Only Pandey can tell what the motive of these photos was and whether the photos helped in increasing the newspaper’s circulation.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A book on Journalism at Panchayat Period

Tesbela Ko Patrakarita(Journalism at that time).
By Ghana Nath Ojha
Bhairab Risal
2065 v.s. , pp.208. Piravi Book House.

This book is the account of journalism of not today. The title suggests it is the journalism at that time. What is the time? It is about Panchayat period. This book is focused on 2020-2021 v.s. But it is more about experience of two journalists working in National news agency: Rastriya Samachar Samiti(RSS). Not journalism at that time. It is actually about what they saw being journalists.

How did ministers insist journalists to accompany them while visiting out of Kathmandu? How did some ministers monitor news about their activities? These incidents shows ministers’ craze for publicity. This book even includes an incident of government censorship. According to authors RSS cut views of a political leader against government.

This books also contains chapters on details of how-to-be journalist, media laws. I think authors kept these chapters to attract students of mass communication and journalism. But it has made the book incomplete. It is not a book on experiences of journalists. Neither is it a manual of how-to-be Journalists
This book lacks a good editor. Due to this there are typo mistakes. Many remembrances are scattered. The author and the publisher have to bear responsibility of this poor editing.

Yet this book is useful to anybody searching to know about government-owned media. It gives historical information on government-owned media.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Politics of ‘Communication for Development’: Intentions and Consequences of National Communication Services Plan 1971 in Nepal (1970-1990)

Friends I hope my masters thesis proposal will be helpful to u.
A Research Proposal on Politics of ‘Communication for Development’: Intentions and Consequences of National Communication Services Plan 1971 in Nepal (1970-1990) in Light of Three Communication Institutions

Submitted by
Harsha Man Maharjan,
MA II Year, RR Campus
Exam Roll no. 4066
Reg. no. 6-1-40-562-99


Submitted to
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Central Department of Journalism and Mass Communication,
Tribhuwan University, Kathmandu

1. Introduction
In 1970s systematic development communication started in Nepal with National Communication Services Plan (NCSP) 1971. It brought six governmental communication institutions and six semi-governmental communication institutions in a network. (Sharma 1980). Governmental institutions were Ministry of Information, Department of Broadcasting (Radio Nepal), Department of Information, Postal Department, HMG Press and Press Council. Similarly semi-governmental ones were Royal Nepal Film Corporation, Nepal Telecommunications Corporation, Rastriya Samachar Samiti, Nepal Cultural Corporation, Ratna Recording Corporation and Gorkhapatra Corporation. (HMG 2028 v.s. [1971]).

Having a slogan, “Communication for Development”, this was a blueprint of ‘modernization’ of national communication system in Nepal. It brought all national communication institutions in a network. The network was conceived for national development. In fact without doing a deep study, we can say the concept of ‘Communication for Development’ was not bad as development was need of any country. But problem arises when we take consideration of Nepal's then political system which was undemocratic. Governments at that time used these institutions to buttress party less political set-up and discredit multiparty political system. According to Yadu Nath Khanal main objectives of that system were nationalism and development (Khanal 2034 v.s: 275). In Onta’s words they were ‘making Panchas and doing Bikas[development]’ (Onta 2003). Onta argues that we have to see activities of Radio Nepal in Panchayat system in broad perspective of activities of inter-state body, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) related to development of communication in developing countries and development communication.

Therefore this study situates in the international and national context of origin of development communication in Nepal (1970-1990). It also shows how party less political system cashed the concept of ‘communication for development’ to buttress political ideology at that time.

2. Statement of the Problem
The concept of development emerged in early 1950s as the export of western scientific technology and capital to developing countries. UNESCO backed US communication scholars like Daniel Lerner, Wilbur Schramm and others, supported this export of hardware and software of communication technologies (Tunstall 1977). UNESCO organized meetings in Bangkok (1960), Santiago (1961) and Paris (1962) to do survey to prepare development programs related to mass media for each regions: Asia, Africa and Latin America (Schramm 1964: vii). The General Assembly in December 1962 urged to use mass communication for economic and social progress. The assembly also requested governments to give priority to development of national communication system while preparing their economic plans.

UNESCO commissioned Wilbur Schramm to write report of the survey. Its result was the book, Mass Media and National Development. Under the topic ‘Building the Mass Media’, the book saw need of planning for national communication (Schramm 1964). This book became UNESCO Bible (Tunstall 1977).

Therefore, we must see Nepal's National Communication Services Plan (NCSP) 1971 in the international context. The NCSP 1971 was enforced in 17 July 1971 which had main objectives to enlist the public support for the development efforts; to strengthen national unity; to consolidate the people’s confidence in the Panchayat polity; to minimize the harmful efforts of oppositional politics and to enhance to national prestige and dignity of Nepal (Verma 1988: 34).

These objectives show that the plan had two broad responsibilities. On one side it had to assist in the agenda of national development. On the other it also had to discredit multiparty democracy and buttress party less political ideology. These two sides are interrelated and my study is focused on this interrelation.

This study will try to find answers to following questions: Is the 1971 plan indigenous one? What was the role of UNESCO in formulating this plan? How did the concept of the plan come in Nepal? What did the plan envisage? How the then governments did used Radio Nepal, Press Council and Royal Nepal Motion Picture Corporation in the name of this plan?

3. Importance of the Study
There is no holistic study yet on how the idea of communication for development began in Nepal and what then political system had aims and interests while enforcing this plan. How did that political system use these three communication institutions to implement this plan?

We have some studies particularly on the NCSP 1971 and some on activities of national communication institutions. There are mainly few studies in use of radio (Onta 2003 ) and film (Ajeet 2064 v.s.[2007] ) as tools for Panchayat propaganda. Likewise anthropologist Stacy Pigg(1993) has also critically analyzed the development discourses in Nepal.

But there is no critical analysis of the NCSP 1971. Both Onta and Ajeet have not studied the activities of Radio Nepal and Royal Nepal Motion Picture Corporation in light of the NCSP 1971. They had not studied in detail the development discourses created by these two organizations. My study will try to fill these gaps.

Communication scholars differ on the definition of development communication. They say communication on issues of human rights, politics is development communication too. For my convenience I will study Radio Nepal programs on education, agriculture and health. International organizations like UNICEF, FAO, USAID etc helped in these programs l. My focus will be on tracing programs dedicated to Panchayat system except news from the list of programs given in Jhankar, a magazine of Radio Nepal. It is not feasible to study the content of these programs as they are not available. But if these contents are available on Jhankar, I will analyze them too.

I will study films, newsreel and documentaries created by Royal Nepal Motion Picture Corporation to assist development and Panchayat ideology.

More than this, this study will also include activities of Press council in Nepal (1970-1990). Main aim of Press council was to create environment for healthy and decent journalism having faith in the country, the king and the system (Rai 1974: 26). In a way the then state created this institution to award journalists who abided with ideology of state and punish those who challenged state ideology.

So this study will add knowledge on how party less state in Nepal buttressed its political agenda while implementing the concept ‘Communication for Development’ through radio, film and print journalism in Nepal (1970-1990).

4. Objectives.
This study is situated in both history of development communication and politics of development communication in Nepal (1970 -1990). Its focus will be on the activities of Radio Nepal, Royal Nepal Film Corporation and Press Council in Nepal (1970-1990). I will try to study the context on which the concept of the 1971 plan came in Nepal and how the plan was materialized in Radio Nepal, Royal Nepal Film Corporation and Press Council.

5. Review of Literature
Though there is no holistic study on politics of development communication in Nepal (1970-1990) in light of NCSP 1971, there are some published articles on NCSP 1971 and activities of national communication institutions. Only few of them deal with politics of the concept: ‘Communication for Development’.

These literatures are of three kinds particularly: on NCSP 1971, on activities of national communication institutions and on both: plan and activities of national communication institutions. For this thesis proposal I have chosen few articles from each of them. Mana Ranjan Josse has written article on NCSP 1971. Mana Ranjan Josse was one of members of the taskforce formed by King Mahendra to draft the plan. Dr. Jagadish Sharma was another member of the Taskforce. Josse (1974) has defined the plan as unprecedented one. . Similarly Lal Deusa Rai thinks NCSP 1971 was a comprehensive plan to use national communications for development and the plan was guided by “the principles of democracy and development, peace and security”(Rai 1987). This kind of literature particularly lack critical analysis of the plan.

On the literatures focused on activities of national communication institutions, particularly Pratyoush Onta (2003) on Radio Nepal and Anubhav Ajeet (2064 v.s) on Royal Nepal Motion Picture Corporation have provided some critical assessment of activities of these two institutions in Panchayat system. Onta has given a picture of functioning of Radio Nepal in Panchayat system. He sees Radio Nepal’s activities in international scenario that is UNESCO. He has also argued that we have to see NCSP 1971 in international scenario too. Yet he has not discussed this plan in detail in his article. Ajeet’s article is a historical account of Nepali film. It also contains information on how Panchayat system used film as a tool of Panchayat propaganda. However he has less interest in development communication of early Nepali films, documentaries and newsreels. I will also see this link between cinema and development communication in my study.

Usually media persons establish press council. In Nepal’s case government established it in Panchayat period. So Bhola Bikrum Rana has found two main disadvantages of press council in Nepal in Panchayat system: Finance of the council by government and political appointment of its members (Rana 1971). Similarly Lal Deusa Rai, Parsu Ram Kharel and Chiranjibi Khanal have studied in detail press laws of Nepal from Rana period to 1990s(Rai, Kharel and Khanal 1998).

On the literatures on both: plan and activities of national communication institutions, a book by Tek Bahadur Khatri called Mass Communications in Nepal (Khatri 1976) comes ahead. In this book, Khatri has given information about some of national communication institutions in the light of NCSP 1971. No doubt, being published by Department of Information it obliviously lacks analytical and critical account of the plan.

The first and third kinds of literatures I have discussed above lacked critical overview of the plan. And though the second kinds of literatures are critical on the activities of few national communication institutions, they are not focused on the intentions of the plan. And my study will add knowledge on this linkage of politics and development communication in Nepal in the light of NCSP 1971.

6. Methodology
My study is a revisit of development communication practiced in Nepal (1970-1990). I will rely on published materials: proclamation of then kings; memoirs of people who worked in national communication institutions, magazines published in this period; books and articles on the subject.

For authentic knowledge of activities of these three institutions I will study Nepal Gazette, newspapers like Gorkhapatra; magazines like Vasudha, Panchayat Darpan, Nepal which contained views on national communication and Panchayat system.

Likewise I will study reports of National Planning Commission, Office of Audit General and reports on corporations. I will study UNESCO bulletin, published by Nepal National Commission for UNESCO to know UNESCO’s activities in Nepal. For international scenario I will study books by Daniel Lerner, Lucien Pye, Wilbur Schramm etc and reports of UNESCO in mass communication.

For information on international scenario I will study books available at Martin Chautari Media Documentation Centre, Tribhuwan University Central Library, the collection Nepal National Commission for UNESCO at Keshar Library and documents available in internet including website of UNESCO. The most of UNESCO’s resolutions and reports are available in its website.

I think reports, souvenirs and other products of national communication institutions like film, documentaries, newsreels etc will be helpful in my study. In addition to published materials, I will talk with people active in 1970s in Nepali communication sector as Mana Ranajan Josse, Dr Jagadish Sharma, Gokul Pokharel to know more about the plan. I will do in-depth interview with Dr. Jagadish Sharma, Yadav Kharel, Chetan Karki, Nir Shah, Laxmi Nath Sharma etc who worked in Royal Nepal Motion Picture Corporation; people who worked in Press council and Radio Nepal to get more information about these three institutions in Nepal (1970-1990).

I will study books, reports related to development communication done by Radio Nepal. To know how Radio Nepal assisted Panchayat ideology I will study articles published about Radio Nepal and Panchayat system, program lists, and annual activities of Radio Nepal published in Jhankar.

For more knowledge about Royal Nepal Motion Picture Corporation I will study its products like books, souvenirs, films, documentaries, newsreels and other materials on the corporation like a book by Mohan Rai (2004) etc. Rai’s book is a collection of interviews with ten peoples in Nepalese Cinema sector. To study the activities of Press Council, I will study its annual reports, published articles on press council, press laws etc.

I will do archival research in TU Central Library, Library of Supreme Court, Martin Chautari Media Documentation Centre, etc.

7. Limitations of My Study
This is my qualitative research so I need to do archival research. But we don't have well achieves. So I might not get all information required for the study. More than this, being a historical research I need to talk with people related to the plan and national communication institutions. Some might have been deceased or some might have poor memory power. Some even might twist facts. So I might not include views of all people necessary for the study. But I will try to minimize effects of limitation by cross checking fact with more than one person.

8. Time Frame
I will finish my thesis in one year. I will devote about three months for each national communication institution and remaining months to know national as well as international context of National Communication Services Plan 1971.

9. Body of My Thesis
My study is qualitative one. The core content of my thesis will contain following chapters:
1. Origin of development communication in international and national context.
2. Textual analysis of NCSP 1971.
3. How it was implemented in terms of three national communication institutions
a) Radio Nepal.
b) Royal Nepal Film Corporation
c) Press Council
4. Conclusion.
5. Bibliography

Ajeet, Anubhav. 2064 v.s[2007]. Nepali Chalachitra ko Arambha. Media Adhyan 2: 35-74.

Chauhan, R.S. 1971. The Political Development in Nepal 1950-1970. New Delhi: Associated Publishing House.

HMG. 2028 v.s[1971]. Rastriya Sanchar Sewa Yogana: “Vikas Ko Lagi Sanchar”. Kathmandu: Department of Information.

Josse, Mana Ranjan. 1974. The Communications Plan: A Few General Thoughts. UNESCO Bulletin 6(3): 38-40.

Khanal, Yadu Nath. 2034 v.s. Nepal in 1972: A Search for a New Base-camp. In Nepal Transition from Isolation, pp. 275-283. Kathmandu: Sajha Prakashan.

Khatri, Tek Bahadur. 1976. Mass Communication in Nepal. Kathmandu: Department of Information.

Onta, Pratyoush. 2003. Radio and Politics of Democratic Culture in Nepal. A paper presented at a seminar ‘The Agenda of Transformation: Inclusion in Nepali Democracy’ organized by the Social Science Baha, Kathamandu, 24-26 April.

Pigg, Stacy. 1993. Unintended Consequences: The Ideological Impact of Development in Nepal. South Asia Bulletin 13(1 & 2): 45-58.

Rai, Lal Deusa. 1974. Mass Communication: Its Progress and Plan in Nepal. UNESCO Bulletin 6(3): 19-29.

Rai, Lal Deusa.1978. Communication Policy: Then and Now. In RSS Sovernir. Govinda Lal Rajbhandari, Mukunda Prasad Acharya, Bal Mukunda Dev Pandey, Dhurba Kumar Deuja, eds, page not mentioned. Kathmandu: RSS.

Rai, Lal Deusa, Parsuram Kharel and Chiranjibi Khanal. 1998. Nepali Patrakarita: Bewastha ra Bewahar. Kathmandu: Patrakarita Bibhag Tri. Bi and Friedrich-Ebert- Stiftung.

Rai, Mohan. 2004. Juxtaposition. Kathmandu: Shanti Chemjong.

Rana, Bhola Bikram. 1971. Press Council: Its Advantages and Disadvantages. Ramjham 7(1): 10-13.

Schramm, Wilbur.1964. Mass Media and National Development: The Role of Information in the Developing Countries. Paris: Standford University Press.

Sharma, K.N. 1980. Nepal: Communication in the Context of Nepal. In Dynamics of Nation-Building with Particular Reference to the role of Communication. pp. 80-84. Bangkok: UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Asia and Oceania.

Tunstall, Jeremy. 1977. UNESCO and the Free Flow of Anglo-American ‘Experts’. In Media Are American, pp.208-214. New York: Columbia University Press.

Verma, Yugeswar. 1988. Communication for Development. In The Press in Nepal: An Appraisal, pp. 29-35. Kathmandu: Prativa Verma.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

National Communication Service Plan 1971 (Rastriya Sanchar Sewa Yojana 2028 v.s.)

Page. 83, published date: 1971 July
Publisher: His Majesty’s Government.
Contains many figures on Nepali national communications institutions (see pix).

This is a detailed roadmap for Nepali national communication institutions till 1980s. It was outcome of Janch Bujha Kendra, a think tank of Royal Palace in Panchayat period. It came to existence in 1970. I am doing masters dissertation on the plan. So far I have finished more than half of my research. Three people were directly involved on making of the plan: Dr. Jagadish Sharma, Manoranjan Joshi and Vishnu Gopal. I am studying how the concept of the plan evolved in Nepal, what is in the plan and how it was implemented in three media institutions-Radio Nepal, Press Council and Royal Nepal Film Corporation.

This document gives information on the condition of Nepali government media institutions till 1970s. Its sole interest was to strengthen then Publicity and Ministry. It recommended government to change the ministry into Ministry of Communicaitons. It brought 11 national communications institutions in the ministry- Ministry of Information, Department of Broadcasting (Radio Nepal), Department of Information, Postal Department, HMG Press, Press Council, Royal Nepal Motion Film Corporation, Nepal Telecommunications Corporation, Rastriya Samachar Samiti, Nepal Cultural Corporation, Ratna Recording Corporation and Gorkhapatra Corporation.
. More than this it popularize the slogan: “Communications for Development”. It is a classic document to study making of the concept of development communication in Nepal. So I have named my thesis:

Politics of ‘Communication for Development’: Intentions and Consequences of National
Communication Services Plan 1971 in Nepal (1970-1990) in Light of Three
Communication Institutions. It is also a document to study how partyless Panchayat Period(1961-19990) used the slogan of “Communications for Development” to buttress its political ideology.

Key Words:
Media System. Panchayat System, Development Communication, Modernization of Mass Communication, Media Institutions, Media Politics, Media Training, Communication Planning and Policies, Janch Bujha Kendra, Dr. Jagadish Sharma, Manoranjan Joshi and Vishnu Gopal, Radio, Film, Press, Press Council, Department of Information,

Saturday, July 4, 2009

hi to all

Hi I am student of mass communication and journalism from Nepal. I will post resources on Nepali Media History Research. I am doing masters dissertation.

Nepali Media History is in fledging state. There are only few concrete researches on the topic. Many of them are superficial. This blog aims at helping researchers, students of Nepali Media History. I will post information on Nepali media history. It will include information on books, report on the topic. I will also post bibliographies of persons who did studies of Nepali media history.