By D.M. Thapa
I AM not EXACTLY A JOURNALIST, THOUGH I WRITE FOR DIFFERENT PAPERS, BUT I HAVE SEEN JOURNALISTS AT CLOSE QUARTERS FOR A LONG, LONG TIME. The leadership in the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) looked with interest the election for a new leader of this organizarion which has branch offices in almost all districts of the country.
With such a huge network and direct connection with politicians, FNJ carries a lot of clout. Furthermore after Western governments and also the International Federation of Journalists, (IFJ) started pouring in money into FNJ, this organization started becoming even stronger. It also became a lucrative place to which many journalists were attracted.
Upto five million dollars was distributed to different media organizations during the second political upheaval in 2006. There were hordes of foreign journalists in Kathmandu at that time.
One senior journalist who met with these foreigners, both journalists and officials of IFJ told me that they were so rigid that they did not wish to hear any reasoning of the Nepali side. When the Nepali people were suffering from months of political violence and also weeks of bandhs which virtually closed down Kathmandu, one British journalist complained to him that he could not get his pizza at Fire and Ice, a popular eatery for foreigners! That was ridiculous and this showed the one sided comfort only foreigners wanted. This comfort included moulding the Nepali media as they wanted to and bringing further turbulence in Nepal.
Are these foreign media people interested only in political turmoil and fulfilling their own interests? Where were these so concerned foreign media people when such a big earthquake shook Nepal and where are they now when hundreds of people have lost their lives in floods and landslides and thousands have been displaced?
Now, at the time of writing this article, a new president of FNJ, and other office bearers have already been elected. There are too many names and all cannot be mentioned here, but the new president is Govinda Acharya who is the politburo member of the Maoist Center. And like always the other posts, 44 in all, have been “shared” by the Maoist Center, Nepali Congress and UML affiliated journalists.
This author has never seen any independent and good journalist being elected in FNJ, appointed in one media commission or the other, or being made ambassadors and this and that. You have to hang on to the coat tails of the big parties to move forward, no matter how talented or good a journalist you are. But mediocre and even hopeless journalists who actually have hardly written anything are pushed and pulled by the parties to good positions. So be a party man or even a cadre and move forward, but don’t ever be an independent journalist no matter how good you are at your job.
The newly elected president of FNJ, considered the umbrella organization of all journalists in the country, soon after his electoral victory has said that he will encompass all journalists and move forward. Going by past history, this seems a difficult task and independent journalist will be sidelined and left in a lurch.
As the president of FNJ he should work for the well fare of all media people and not as a party worker. He should leave politics behind and be a real professional to be a sound leader. We wish him the best and success in his work.