Nepal Journalism: Atrociously Biased or Just Plain Lazy or Something Else?

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They say media is the fourth pillar of democracy! Is it so in Nepal?

Following the death of at least four activists in a clash between the police and Morcha activists in Saptari, during a March 9 visit on a fact-finding mission, the vehicle Nepal Human Rights Commission Commissioner Mohna Ansari was travelling in was vandalized. A twitter user (one Sarojraj Adhikari) shared a video of the vehicle clearly stating that the vandals had been “relatives of the victims.”

Ansari herself released a statement to that effect (see also image above).

But sadly (or pathetically?), only one publication — JUST ONE — actually sourced Ansari and included statements from her: Setopati.

Annapurna Post also did well to report the incident correctly. They either used the information published by Ansari, or got the details directly from her. Which of the two they did is not clear from the article.

A number of publications, including a few of the biggest dailies, wrongly blames the Morcha.

Having only the words on the articles to go by, it’s difficult to determine for certain whether that was intentional — biased journalism — or just plain lazy journalism, both of which we don’t have a shortage of in Nepal. Or it could be something else entirely!

Click here to read the article published in Annapurna Post and here for the article published in Setopati.

My Republica (an English Daily published by Republica Nepal), Kantipur and The Kathmandu Post (two dailies published by the media house Kantipur Publications), however, blame the Morcha.

Click here for the My Republica article, here for the Kantipur article and here and here for the two The Kathmandu Post articles.

Here are some more articles that blamed the Morcha.

Click here for the article in Nagarik News (the Nepali language daily of Republica Nepal), here for the article in Ratopati, here for the article in Ujyaloonline.com and here for the one in Everest Dainik,

Three more that put the blame on Morcha.

Click here for the article in Karobar, here for the article in News24Nepal and here for the article in Naya Page.

Sadly, they are not the only ones either. Here are some more that did the same: Samudrapari, TodayKhabar.com, Himal Khabar, and Surya Khabar.

A correspondant for Nagarik News also blames, on Twitter, the Morcha. Even when pointed out the mistake, as of now, the afternoon of March 15, he does NOT appear to have retracted or corrected the mistake!

Click here for the original tweet.

When it comes to reporting about incidents in Madhes, this is not the first time that I have noticed and blogged about the apparent bias of our media and pettiness of journalists.

In Is Media in Kathmandu as One-sided as They Appear?…And What of the Nepalese People? I pointed out the biased reporting of a November 2015 protest march in Washington DC. In Editor-in-chief, I highlighted the pettiness of the Editor-in-Chief of Republica Nepal: he blocked me on Twitter, as far as I can tell, for pointing out issues with his publication.

So, is media in Nepal the fourth pillar of democracy?

Media in Kathmandu are biased NOT only when reporting about Mashesis, but also when reporting on — and writing about — women and other Janajatis/indigenous people as well. That could be a whole different blog post!

For those reasons alone, I sometime wonder if media in Nepal is more a propaganda machine!

What do you think?



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