When no news is bad news
No news maybe good news for some, but for journalists no news is definitely bad news. This is especially true these days for foreign news media in Nepal where nothing significant is happening post dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in May without a constitution.
Political parties, both ruling and in opposition, have failed despite numerous meetings to reach any consensus on what should be the roadmap for resolving the present constitutional and political crisis arising due to dissolution of CA, which also acted as the country’s parliament.
While the ‘decisive’ and ‘final’ meetings held almost daily between parties without any outcome may provide daily fodder to Nepali newspapers, TV channels and radio stations they hold no particular interest to readers and viewers outside Nepal.
Frequent statements and unfulfilled promises by leaders from across the political spectrum on ending the impasse within a certain time limit does not create even a minor ripple among most Nepalis who have seen politicians failing the country on several occasions.
In August many foreign media outlets based in Kathmandu carried reports on how one Nepali man bit a cobra to death after he got bitten by the snake. Two days later they reported on how a father had shot his son dead mistaking him for a monkey.
This led a senior Nepali journalist to question if such incidents were the only news from Nepal considered newsworthy.
It’s true that there are other events in Nepal that can be of interest. Reports on climate change, natural disasters, air crashes, major road accidents and deaths of mountaineers on Himalayan peaks are routinely written about and get covered across the globe.
Once in a while there are also stories and features on newsmakers like celebrity designer Prabal Gurung or CNN hero Anuradha Koirala, who has saved thousands of Nepali girls from being sold to Indian brothels. But they are few and far between.
Nepali media gives ample space to political and economic developments in India. But the same can’t be said about Indian media. I have heard many Nepalis complain how news items about their country rarely find mention in Indian newspapers, magazines and news channels.
But a crisis extending several months and incessant deliberations among political parties without any outcome doesn’t generate much enthusiasm among people reporting them or those for whom the reports are meant.
And unless there’s news on the ongoing crisis ending soon, it would mean bad news for Nepal as well.
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