Media Key To Good Governance

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Virtually all the people understand that what the country needs at the moment is good governance. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda also fully understands this, which must be the reason why he is emphasising on this issue time and again. Of course, the government alone cannot do much, there must be cooperation from all sides. In this regard, it is encouraging to hear reports of the complete faith of the majority of the people in the present system and the way in which the democratic system is steadily making progress. Even now, two by-elections are about to take place in east and far western Nepal. Going by past experiences, the elections are going to be held in a peaceful, fair and free manner. The number of individuals in the electoral race is also encouraging. This in fact shows the enthusiasm of the people in the democratic system under which the country is being run.

Naturally all the individuals cannot be good and in the present system also one has seen an increase in the cases of corruption, which must be done away with firm resolution from political leaders and others. Almost everyone says the problems we are seeing in our doddering economy is due to corruption and leakage of revenue, mostly due to corrupt practices. The only way to deal with corruption is meting out harsh punishments and also the society boycotting individuals who have become 'rich quick' through illegal means. Till now, no questions are asked and individuals are instead praised for their quick rise as far as their wealth is concerned.

Income source 

Just declaring the wealth of political leaders and other government officials is not enough. The key lies in making them declare the source of their wealth. A person can easily say he or she has more wealth than they actually have and then get away freely later by saying the wealth was already there in their declaration when joining some government post or other. But if such persons are properly grilled and they are compelled to show their source of income, many culprits can be nabbed. Among the sectors which can play a vital role not only to curb corruption, but also contribute in a healthy manner for good governance in the country, is the media.

Minister for Communication and Information Technology Rekha Sharma hit the nail on the head when she said, the importance of the media in the positive aspects of society is vital. She made this remark while speaking at the press conference organised in Palpa, Tansen. Minister Sharma also said that journalists should convey hope to the public by highlighting the constructive elements of the society. This is indeed true, as not only political reports, but also reports of development activities should be given equal priority, if not more, especially in a country like Nepal. It is encouraging that we now have a dynamic media sector and there are also an array of outlets to which people can turn to, to get information or even entertainment. 

Definitely providing information is the main goal of most media outlets and we are seeing to some extent a steady growth in this aspect. But more needs to be done and we need more professional hands working in the media than individuals with political interests only. There was a time when individuals just became journalists without any media background. But some efforts were made when the Tribhuvan University started a course in journalism at the certificate level, now equivalent to class eleven and twelve in the late Seventies. The pioneers who came forward to help and some to teach all must be remembered for their contribution for taking the media sector to what it is now. 

Through 'hiccups' time and again, now individuals have even done their Ph.D. in journalism. It is probably unimaginable for some people, even in the media sector, that this same subject did not have even a Bachelor's level course when it was started by TU. We now have many trained journalists in this field. Right now, though we have many trained journalists, one important aspect in this field is in choosing reports which must be prioritised. The same goes for the decision makers in the news outlets as well.

Professional scenario

Still, the professional scenario is encouraging in this sector. Besides giving development news, many in the field are also doing their best to inform the people about the developments taking place in the nooks and corners of the country. Furthermore, the media also constantly reminds the political leaders and other officials of their responsibilities towards the people. The media is also contributing in its own way in ensuring good governance and also cautioning the private sector, in their obligations to the people in general.

With political differences and various sides, including people who have been cheated by cooperatives even coming out on the streets, the nation is at a difficult crossroads now. There must be cohesion and understanding to make the system stronger and also ensure harmony amongst all the citizens. Therefore, the media has an important part in different sectors. From alerting the government towards good governance and the commitments, it has made to the people, exposing or just cautioning wrongdoers, making more responsible the private sector and overall, in making the people aware of what is happening in the country. With so many media outlets and the serious manner in which the people are concerned about the problems the country is facing, it is certain that the media will play its role responsibly and help in bringing in good governance.

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

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