By Om Tat Sat,
When India and China had a big clash at Galwan killing 20 Indians, one of the swift response was to ban Chinese apps in India – 59 in total including Tiktok. For Indians who need Gorkha soldiers to fight for them at the frontiers, that was the only logical response that would be effective and send a strong message. Nepal has also put a ban on Indian news channels in response to very derogatory portrayal of the Nepal’s PM and Chinese ambassador as a romantic couple. Leave it to the Indians to go lowest of the low. Frankly, it was not a work of journalism.
In response to the release of Nepal’s new map that included Lipulek and Kalapani as Nepal’s territory, Indian media, more specifically Arnab Goswami, started to comment on air accusing Nepal being a puppet of China for that act. When Nepal’s Manisha Koirala, a known Bollywood actress of Nepali origin, released a statement for talk between three neighbors, she was accused of speaking for China. She immediately left India because of the hostility.
Currently, the hottest trend in social media is the Indian media’s presentation of Nepal’s politics in another bad light. Nepal is not going through a good time what with the pandemic spreading but the leaders caught up in a power struggle! As a couple of months ago, Chinese ambassador started visiting the party leaders’ homes. On itself, this was highly undiplomatic and unethical too, but the Indian media took this up and portrayed this as a budding romantic relationship between them and maligned their reputation. Well, actually it was like self-immolation. Nepal was outraged.
As a swift response, Nepal’s Multi-System Operator decided to put a ban on the Indian news channels citing “unfounded” reports. However, the Freedom Forum, a CSO issued a condemnation of this action. They cited took it as an abridgment and violation of “the rights of the public to receive free, fair, and unbiased information,” according to the Himalayan Times. While theoretically, that might sound right; their mistake is in qualifying Indian hateful propaganda as “journalism.”
Media, although granted the most important status as the fourth estate in the democratic system, has not been living up to the expectation. Indian media has been proven time and again to be the lowest of the low in the world. Instead of acting out its responsibility for democratic consolidation, a portion of Indian media has acted in such an atrocious manner that it has ruined relations with neighboring countries. Nepal has become the cause of its ire since it published a new map in response to the Indian release of its map.
In truth, media was called the fourth estate because they were not part of the separation of power exercised by any democratic system, but they had the crucial task to keep a watch and vigil on all three branches to make sure they remained within the limits of their power and warn the people about the excesses, corruptions and undemocratic activities. In that sense, journalists have to have the highest ethical and moral standard and display the highest character of sacrifice and fearlessness in exposing the corruption and prompting practice of truth. It is not easy to find many journalist of that caliber. It takes a special bunch of people with a high degree of training in journalism courses.
In any case of journalism, the Watergate scandal is probably taught as an exemplary ethical duty for journalists as also the Pentagon papers. Since then many journalists have put their lives at stake to bring out the truth to the public. Nonetheless, when it comes to the Indian news channels in question, they were not upholding any journalistic ethical standards. They were practicing malicious and ill-informed propaganda against its smaller neighboring country. It is a sad fact that the so-called Freedom Forum could not differentiate between news and malice. In the still-ongoing news about the “suicide” of an upcoming Bollywood star Sushant Singh, a group of journalists has been identified as publishing false news called “blind items” that sought character assassination of the actor. Nepal has been a victim of such slanderous news after the cable news trend has become normal.
Media is an integral part of society for news and all other aspects of life. It acculturates young minds into cultural identity and knowledge with related values to help them grow into adults. The current media trend in Nepal is deeply flawed due to predominantly Indian influence on TV channels that are run freely in Nepal and actually doing great damage to Nepal’s own TV, movies, and entertainment industry. You just need to watch TiktokNepal to see youth dancing to Bollywood junk dances and mouthing junk dialogues.
If Nepal could voluntarily start reducing the bad influence of India over Nepal, it could start to become independent and a proud nation. The domination of Indian in all area must be stopped before Nepal can bloom out on its own.
The writer is a graduate of Arizona State University in Political Science. He is working as a social activist and motivational speaker for students across Nepal since 2007. He also blogs at Strong Blog.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necesarily reflect the official policy or position of Nepalisite.