Kantipur, you owe me (us) an explanation

[Update: I had written the original post in a hurry so, I have changed some wordings. I hope Kantipur editors will come up with some valid arguments.]

Some people thought that my previous article, Journalism Ethics, Dabur and Miss Nepal, was biased. I want to make myself clear, by telling that, I still believe in the spirit of the article, Indian Embassy – Real Juice – Real motive, and Indian Media, I wrote on August 28. A few points:

  1. Kantipur owes me an explanation. Why didn’t they cover the Miss Nepal event? I am still not convinced Kantipur did something ethical.
  2. Not publishing major news based on one’s personal problem (or, organizational dispute) implies that the Indian Embassy was right in telling our journalists are unethical (even if, it is still baseless).
  3. Am I baised ? Yes, a little bit. Previously, Kantipur writers simply ignored my enquiries through previous articles and emails (on Maya Bazin and Smita Thapa issues). The article was targeted to thick skinned, writers there.

My friend Aakar argued that he thinks Kantipur publication is doing what it should. Dipak Bhattarai and Aakar sent me the link to The Hindu article. It was a very detailed and in-depth analysis of the background of the current problem. I have summarized the articles below:

Excerpts from Nepali Times article.

General misconduct of ‘Real Embassy’

  • Indian Embassy does not believe in diplomatic niceties in exercising political control in Nepal
  • Pressure on Sujata delayed the Machine Readable Passport (MRP) deal
  • Indian embassy threatened a lawmaker, Ram Kumar Sharma, for going against Indian interests.

Misconducts related to Kantipur Publication:

  1. The embassy persuaded businesses on  Indian investments in Nepal to throttle the advertisement pipeline of Kantipur Publications.
  2. It used non-tariff barriers to stop newsprint supply.
  3. On 27 August it changed it’s identity from Indian Embassy to ‘Real’ Embassy. The undiplomatic, politically incorrect, and shamefully insulting statement was widely hailed by Indian media.

The article makes it clear that the Indian Embassy is nobody to talk about the code of ethics on Nepali journalists.

Excerpts from another article, an article published in India’s major newspaper, The Hindu. The article in the reputed Indian newspaper seems unbiased and it also makes sense:

  • There is a hostile relationship between the Indian government and the Kantipur group — the biggest media house in Nepal. (Word biggest seems to trouble the Embassy)
  • Indian officials believe – Kantipur publication’s reporting and editorial line — was ‘distinctly anti-Indian’ and ‘insensitive to security concerns’.
  • Kantipur pointed its finger to Indian agencies on killing of Nepali entrepreneur Jamim Shah, political leader Mirza Dilshad Beg, and localised clashes in Meghalaya.
  • While India was backing PM Madhav Nepal, Kantipur was asking him to resign through its editorial.
  • MRP Passport issues and frustration on its failure.

Issues related to the advertisement

  • India first stopped providing embassy advertisements to Kantipur.
  • In May, was instrumental in stopping newsprint imported by Kantipur from South Korea at the Kolkata port.
  • Indian officials showed files of Kantipur’s ‘anti-India reporting’ to Indian joint venture representatives in Nepal and asked them to stop all advertisements in Kantipur.
  • In June, Kantipur publicly accused India of deliberately blocking newsprint at Kolkata. Ambassador Sood and Kantipur’s owner Kailash Sirohiya met for almost two hours at the embassy to agree on not publishing anti-India news to release newsprint.

The Nayapatrika article repeats much of the above issues.

  • News on Real juice were published in Nayapatrika, Sagarmatha TV, Kantipur TV.

Now, with the analysis of these articles, one can be sure that the Indian Embassy wants Nepali newspapers to sing their song.

But, that still doesn’t tell anybody to undermine one’s social responsibilities and professional ethics.

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