The Namrata Shrestha sex scandal has created a huge impact not only in Nepalese film industry but also started debate on ethics in journalism. BBC Nepali aired a program “Nepal Samdarva” (sorry, the audio link is removed from BBC)Â in which Rabindra Mishra questioned on the ethics of Nepali journalist to bring out the news to general public. Mishra called upon the editor of Nayapatrika Dainik, Krishna Jwala Devkota, and Journalism Professor, P. Kharel, to talk on the issue. Kharel says that the video is personal and it should haven’t have been a news but Krishna defended on being it a public news.
Till date, it is not known who released the tape in YouTube. Internet, by its vary nature is ruthless in distributing content around the world. In a matter of hours the video was distributed all around the world like a wild fire. Some noted newspapers like Kantipur, Nagariknews didn’t thought it newsworthy (however they featured articles on the subject, later). But others like Dainikee, Nayapatrika wrote front page articles on their issues. This shows division on mainstream journalist on prioritizing news for publication. Some thought it a personal matter and others consider it a public concern. We first thought that it was an attempt to defame the artist but it later turned out to be the real Namarta. It shouldn’t have been released in internet in the first placeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ once it is out one can’t control it. Turning a blind eye on it might even backfire. People should be given an opportunity to learn from othersÃ¢â‚¬™ mistakes.
For an artist, becoming a public figure comes at a cost of loosing the private life. It is seen in many instances all around the world that every private moments can become a public gossip topic and news (to name some – breakup of Sweta Tiwari (Prerana fame) or Paris Hilton scandal or Vietnam TV star scandal). Many people consider such public figures their idol and follow their steps. They have the moral responsibility to guide the followers in right direction. But, when they fail to do what is expected from them then there would be an outcry from the general public. I think that is the case with Namrata scandal. As Bishnu Sapkota in MyRepublica wrote – “ours is a society that enjoys watching that video on You Tube while immediately taking a high moral position to denounce the act.”
I agree, our society is different from Western world. We still consider sex a taboo and would prefer not to talk about it. Sex education wouldnÃ¢â‚¬™t penetrate our education system anytime soon. Still, we need to be more open on the subject of sex. We should talk to our kids about sexual predators, unsafe sexual behavior, and sexual hygiene.
Regarding Journalist ethics, I wanted to learn more about it in FNJ Nepal website. But the site should have been hacked and Google suggested me not to visit it. I will talk about it later when they care to clean the site. Till then debate can go on in the comment section.