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.

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