Media Must Be Highly Responsible


There is no doubt that the political parties and their leaders have been guiding the nation for many years now. As per the democratic norms, people now are enjoying not only freedom of speech and expression, but also the ability to enjoy an independent life. Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda-led government has just completed one year in office and though there have been criticism from many sectors and individuals about the government, ordinary onlookers like this writer feel that the Prime Minister and his cabinet partners have been involved in many works, both politically and diplomatically. It may have been a little more slack in development works and in the improvement of the economy, but every day one hears about the activities of the government for constructive actions.

Prime Minister Prachanda admitted in his address to the nation that he himself was not satisfied with the slow progress in some sectors and he would personally monitor the initiatives taken by different ministries. But right in the beginning he also talked of the achievements made by the government in many sectors. He claimed that his party and the government were working for the protection of Loktantra and other democratic ideals in spite of the attacks in the basic base of the achievements by some forces who were deliberately trying to incite more trouble in the nation.

Stride in power generation 

One achievement was that the country had taken a huge stride in generating electricity. This is true as now most parts of the country not only has access to electricity, but there is no load-shedding, especially in capital city - Kathmandu, and the country has been even exporting power worth billions of rupees. This is a far cry from the days when the whole country suffered from massive load-shedding, even up to eighteen hours per day. Now the people are getting used to using more electric gadgets for daily works including in cooking. Many experts have been saying that Nepal would benefit immensely if it used electricity instead of fossil fuels which it has to import at a high cost.

The Prime Minister also boldly stated in his address that he was ready to step down if the people thought his government was inefficient. But he also reminded all that he would change his working style in his second year in office and sternly deal with individuals, including ministers and diplomats who were proved inefficient in their work. There is no doubt that what the people are expecting is good governance and it was encouraging to learn that Prachanda was very serious on this matter. All will have to contribute in their own ways to help such determination of the head of the government.

However, it was dismaying to see much criticism of the government in many media outlets. The media has an important role to play in pointing the focus of the people in the right direction. Not only because this writer worked there, but he is saying this as it is the truth, that The Rising Nepal has not only been encouraging developmental journalism, but it has also always been accountable and responsible. There was a time when even scholars read this daily just to see correct English language and there were many others who read it for its reliability and also wide coverage of international news and also sports. 

The other media outlets sadly seem to be not only partisan but also very biased in their news and views. Forget being ethical, they are not even following the written code of conduct of journalism. Like with the political leaders, the people seem to be having lesser and lesser faith in what the media says these days. This is not a good indicator for the media as a whole. But to come back to the situation of the country, it is encouraging to hear the commitment of none less than the Prime Minister himself that he is very serious about good governance and the development works in all sectors. He also emphatically said that his government would take serious note of the plight of the people and make all efforts to mitigate the problems faced by the common citizens. It is the duty of all to cooperate with the government, especially the political leaders and bureaucrats, to make this vision a success.

Positive sign

The media also has an important role in helping make a better Nepal. Here, one must commend the work of TRN in being the leader in giving positive news and making developmental news a trend which encourages individuals to contribute for the betterment of the nation's economy, not by going abroad, but by staying back in the country and using their energy and skills here. It is indeed a positive sign that other media outlets are also now following this trend and giving good coverage of the success stories of individuals who are using the opportunities found here in the country itself.

Just criticising the government, political leaders or others is not a difficult job, but at the same time the responsible individuals in high public posts must also be careful that they do not get involved in any controversies which attract the wrath of the common people or the media. The media should also be careful that they not make a mountain out of a mole hill, unless they have enough proof so that they can responsibly again inform the people of how the report they have published has come up with results and what follow-up had taken place. Objectivity is perhaps the most difficult part of journalism, but as it has a huge responsibility, the media outlets, whether in the print sector or the broadcast sector must be careful that wrong information or opinion are not given because of their inclination to support one group or the other.

(The author is former chief editor of this daily.)

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