Social Responsibility in Nepali Media: Replacement of old journalist needed
By admin On 14 Aug, 2014 At 10:22 AM | Categorized As Article | With 0 Comments

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-Bidhur Dhakal

After the development of the media there starts the responsibility of it. Media used to transmit information to the mass in according to their interest. It is important that, what the important is? Media responsibility defer in form of the social and political institutions of the nation that exist.    The term media theory refers to a model that explains the relationship between media and social reality.  Not only the socio and political institutions the responsibility of the media differs or affects by the media ownership also.  Media is like an industry which gives its products and service and earns money. Not only is that media supposed to have the responsibility to the society, public and the nation where it exist.

It is also the watch dog of the society. The criticism of the media tends the society, government, parliament or the individuals to come on the right way.  If it does not execute this task, it turns into superfluous. Most of the media theories are differ from the nation to nation. According to the position of the state rule theories that tends the media are differs. Media are noticed, proscribed and covenanted with the four distinct theories. They commonly keep control on media behavior and its outlook in different societies.

  • Authoritarian theories of the press
  • Libertarian theories of the press
  • Communist or soviet theories of the press
  • Social responsibilities theories of the press

These theories were coined by the scholars Fred S. Siebert, Theodore Peterson and Wilbur Schramm. Practices of the above theories were in media before but in 1956 those scholars termed and define according to the practice in media. Authoritarian theory is practice in the authoritarian states. Before the democratic societies, there was no matter of pertaining to freedom of speech. There subsisted a thought that the materialization of media should not dispute the injunction of the government. They were strained to linger beneath the state control.

Likewise, when the authoritarian society coiled down, Formation of the Libertarian states started, which help media to grow up. There media enjoys an unconditional freedom of expression. Media was used as a watchdog of the government. The press is free from censorship. In same condition, some states in the world were practice communism model of ruling. Such in Soviet Russia the media were forced to to speak in favor of the working class people. In some case the media are tend to have the pre censor by the government. Media are controlled by the communist government.

In the case of development, in libertarian society media tends to serve the society for the development. Not only has the watch dog of the government, media played the role of good governance, social welfare, development. The Social Responsibility Theory was in practice in developing countries and third world after 20th century. They have used this social responsibility theory of press which is coupled with “the Commission of the Freedom of Press” in United States at 1949. Scholars Siebert, Peterson and Schramm in their book ‘Four Theories of Press’ they had coined that the social responsibility theory and mention ‘pure libertarianism is antiquated out dated and absolute.’ Which mean; the libertarian theory was totally outdated and unqualified to the present society. They also had mentioned that the out dated of the libertarian theory has lined the social responsibilities theory to replaced the libertarian theory.

This theory keeps certain areas free for the Press but at the same time puts lot of responsibility on

Media. A free and independent press is essential to any society. But there is a question, what do we mean by a free press?  A press is that which is not subject to undue government control and regulation. One that is free from undue financial influence from the privet sector, including advertisers and economic or business pressure (Kirtley: 2010). A free and independent press provides its audiences (readers, viewers, and listeners) with the information they need to participate fully as citizens in free society. But it is the question either Nepali press had done this task or not?

Media now developed as the enterprise like other business but yet is not just seen as an enterprise like others in the business sector of any society. It has its unique nature; society expects a particular role which media must play for the society. By which society tend in getting rid of social evils, educating people, criticizing government policies and revealing other erroneous deeds in a the world (Demaris: 1996).

The media ownership should be the public trust. The journalist should be accountable to his audience. In politically and economically sophisticated societies amend is based on new information and telecommunications technologies, which affected the media industries in provisions of economic streamlining, and on a new social and political environment, as reflected by media contents. But in third nation like Nepal, Media are still on phase of development. Formulation of the code of conduct and improvement of standards of the journalism is still in the way. In this free society every one can say something or express their opinion throughout the media. Is it in practice in Nepal now? It’s a question to Nepali media. The free press is responsible to the society. The perceptions of the responsibility vary from country to country even from year to year. For many, the standard in times of peace and stability may seem very different in time of war or national emergency and political instability. Yet some essential principles remain constant. A free press must seek truth and report it. It must be tireless in seeking and achieving accuracy. The press must never knowingly publish a falsehood or transaction (Kirtley: 2010).

It is to think that either above mention condition is applied by Nepali Press or not. Nepali media used to manipulate the mind of the public of the nation. The development of Nepali media starts ‘Mission Journalism’. ‘Gorkhapatra’ was published by Rana in the interest of preaching their rule. It is is the first news media in Nepal. In this regime some of newspapers were published against the ‘Rana’ but they were not significant to the history of the Nepali Media. In 2007 ‘Parjatantra Radio Nepal’ was run by rebel group of Nepali Congress in Bhojpur against the Rana Regime. Later after the establishment of the democracy in Nepal, it was sift to the capital and start to broadcast as Radio Nepal. After that some of newspaper were published but due to the ‘Panchayat’, direct rule of Late King Mahendra; the development of media goes back to the decades long. In this period Banned parties, fighting for multi party democracy had run newspaper in different part of the country in various number. They were influenced by the political ideology and the journalists were parties’ carders.

After restoration of the democracy in 1990; development of media has grown up. Nepali media tend towards professionalism. But the same question is media can be professional or are Nepali media being professional? Basically, till to the date Nepali media are not professional. They are practicing the older trend. News in Nepali media could not show their professionalism. There are many of the example we can see that Nepali media are not being professional.

Nagarik Daily, the top most leading paper of the country has published the news of ‘Aamako Ghar’ of Dilshova Shrestha. Due to the news paper has lost its credibility. The blame which was called after so called after their investigation was not proved. Then the chief editor of the paper Pratik Pradhan has excused publically throughout the paper. After his excused, one of the foreign media had published the same thematic report. Likewise, ‘Kantipur’ published the news about Anuja. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav thanks to her but her task was bogus. Himalayan Television had broadcast the news about the Chitwan Medical College, Bharatpur. That was tending of economical bargaining. The audio tape of economical bargaining was published.

The question, How much are the media responsible to the society? is raising. It is the latest question that is arising either Nepali Journalists are journalists or the carders of the political parties. ‘Press Chautari’, leading organization of the Nepali Journalist has appoint the the representative for the Ninth National Convention of CPN (UML). The meeting of the Chautari held on June 24, had appoint Rajendra Aryal, Pramod Dahal, Durga Sharma, Madav Nepal and Saendra Rae as the representatives for the convention. Till the date the Chautari used to claim that it is the organization of the professional journalist. But this nomination has changed them that they are not journalist rather than UML Carders. This is not only the example that the Nepali Journalists are biased by the politic. To the election of the CA held on October, journalists were fragmented to the different political ideology. Media were also fragmented too. Journalist were advertising or asking vote to particular parties or the candidate. That had shown journalist as the carders of the parties.

Next example of the media fragmentation is the media content in appointment of Lokman Singh Karki as the chief commissioner of the Commission of the Investigation of abuse of the authorities (CIAA). Mainstream media of Nepal were divided into the two parts some were supportive to the government decisions and some were against the decision. Audiences are sold by the Media owners rather than audiences are buying the media content. Journalists are focusing the sell able news rather than public concern. It reflects that the commercial Mass Media are served by their audience rather than vice versa (McQuail: 2013; 402). Audiences of the media are developed into the consumer market.  Audiences are treated as the sell able goods by the media. News on the media covered is as the sponsors’ news.

Nepal is the agricultural country. I want to asked one question to the media owner or the journalist that how many news in a year did you have published agricultural news in firs page as first news or as the first news of the bulletin. None I have seen. Only the agriculture news will be first news if the political leaders or any authorities said that ‘Nepal is agriculture country, our development will be in development of agriculture………’ You think this is important? I don’t think so because every public now knows Nepal is agriculture country. We should developed agriculture. None of the mainstream media are concerning to write why we are back in development in agriculture. Why 80 percentage of farmer are unable to feed 20 percentage of rest on the year? Our focused is not attracted on this. Only we are focusing on ‘who said what?’

In conclusion, we can say that the Nepali is not tending in social responsibility. Only the practice of the Mission Journalism, which is typically Nepali, coined practice. None of the rest nation has practice the Mission Journalism. They are going on the social responsibility.  Foreign media have mission on the social responsibility. But our mission is that to spread ideology of individuals’ party. Where the Journalist leaders are elected with their political ideology, what’s the hope will audience to keep? Until, journalist with new and advance qualification doesn’t enter to the Nepali Media till the situation will remains same. Replacement of the old (politically guided and not ethically guided) journalists by the young energetic and ethically guided professional journalists is needed. Than only, the media contents and the media could be responsible to the society and the nation.

Sources and Bibliography:

Kirtley, Jane. 2010. Media Law: Handbook Series; Bureau of International Information Programs, United State Department of State.

Dr. Demarais Robar A., 1996. The Biased Media’s Social Responsibility Theory. Bulletian of Arkansas C.C.C (Pages 1-2).

McQuail, Denis. 2010. McQuails’s Mass Communication Therory (6th edition), Sage Publication New delhi. 

Different newspapers and online and media oriented books.

(Master First semester, Central Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, TU, Kathmandu)

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