KATHMANDU: Is the media sector, which point outs others’ wrongdoings and ill practices, away from such evil things? It is a question that the general people, media and non-media fraternity generally think about. Although, the media do raise their fingers against ill practices of different organisations, persons and areas, the Fourth Estate is also not away from such practices. Media critiques, researchers and academicians point out the flaws of the media and make recommendations for improvements.
Professor and senior journalist P. Kharel has recently published a book Media for Participatory Democracy, which critically deals the evil practices of Nepali media, state of the media democratisation and influence of the Fourth Estate in society. Kharel, a senior media critique, makes valuable recommendations for the improvement of Nepal’s media.
The book, which explains various issues in 10 chapters, is primarily designed for advanced level studies, particularly political communication and principles of journalism. Media runners, journalists, media-policy makers, persons involved in the media support system and students of other disciplines of social science can use the book to better their role and enrich their career. Theories and the history of contemporary political and communication practices are discussed in the book.
Kharel has prescribed two new models — Information for Empowerment, Approaches to Participation — in the book. The book has also recorded valuable contents with a number of evidences of Nepal, South Asian countries and even the West.
It has dealt on — conflict of interest in media-party relationship, media defending party politics, attacks against media, financial viabilities of media and evidences of salaries delayed and poorly paid in media, factors creating a crunch in media credibility, media producing homogeneous contents by sidelining the diversity factor, factors making for practising self-censorship, practices of paid journalism, poor state of implementation of Right to Information Act, role of media support system in Nepal, state of no significant audience survey to acknowledge Nepal’s media impact, unionism among Nepali journalists, media contents not for public service but for commercial purpose, no sufficient homework while producing media contents, elite and profit oriented and urban-centric media strategy, interest groups against the Fourth Estate, lack of specialisation in media, media defying laws and codes, failure of media speculations in the political developments and politicians owing media to fulfil their interest.
Flight of talent from Nepali media, media political parties nexus, weekly newspapers working as mouthpieces of different political groups, continuation of mission journalism even after democracy, TV channels’ poor quality, interest groups against the Fourth Estate, how media are working as scandal sheets or rumour channels are the other hot issues discussed.
“Despite the spurt in the media outlet numbers since the 1990s, the issue of
financial viability, content quality and service regularity continue to shadow the media in Nepal as a stupendous and challenge to cope with. These are concerns that have implications for the sustainability and professional integrity of the Media,” Kharel says in the book.
“Agriculture accounts for nearly three-fourths of the country’s working population and yet it hardly makes front page news in the print or news headlines of broadcast channels. If a major development were to happen in the the car industry of, say,
Japan or US, the media there would give extensive coverage, setting the agenda for even imitators like the Nepali media to cover the same with gusto,” says an extraction of the book.
The book has assessed the Nepali media in action, the workings of political parties, politicians, media, communicators and their audience. Also the book address issues pertaining to principles and actual practices pertaining to political and media cultures.
Quotes of media practitioners, citation from contents published in media and scholarly books, research reports and articles have enriched the book to justify its overall contents.