By PR Pradhan
The debate on clean-feed or no clean-feed in our broadcast sector is continuing. This scribe, however, believes the government plan to introduce a clean-feed policy for foreign television channels is a commendable job. Whether the government can stand on this stance or not, we cannot say, nevertheless, the clean-feed policy will help to stop the free flow of foreign advertisements and in the meantime, it will also give more chances to the local advertisement market and also grant opportunities to the local artists as and pave the way for the government for earning revenue from telecasting foreign advertisements.
Of course, all television channel distributers in the country have become united and stood up against the government plan of introducing its clean-feed policy. May be, some Indians will also put pressure on the government against such a plan, but the government idea is solely to protect the Nepalese advertisement sector in the greater interests of the country. Basically, there is a large number of viewers of the Indian TV channels/serials and such viewers may become unhappy from the government decision. Though, it will provide an opportunity to the local TV channels to explore new and attractive programmes for the TV viewers at home.
There is a flood of Indian TV channels along with advertisements, which have already destroyed Nepal’s culture, tradition and language as well. For instance, we are taught to say “Mandap” to a certain art related to the Hindu religion, which, the Indians call “Rangoli”. These days, Nepali youths are more familiar with “Rangoli” rather than “Mandap”. There are many more examples on how our language has been encroached by the Indian language through advertisements and other programmes. Therefore, to preserve Nepali culture, tradition and language also, such Indian channels have to be discouraged.
The other day, the Indian TV channels distributors protested against the government plan of introducing a clean-feed policy by blocking all the foreign channels with foreign advertisements. This didn’t make much impact among the Nepali viewers. They are saying that they would face losses worth billions of rupees as they have installed equipments to receive foreign channels. Be that as it may, compared to the interests of the entire nation, such a loss can never be compared to the nation’s pride.
Meanwhile, cable network companies which are also providing broadband Wi-Fi via cables have contributed a lot in destroying the beauty of the city by hanging cables in electricity poles all over the streets. Is the government taking any move provide an alternative to this practice?
In the meantime, the government has imposed 10 percent import tax on printed materials also. This decision has been condemned even by academicians and scholars, including the political leaders in opposition parties. They have alleged that this is a move to curtail the right to information of the citizens. What this scribe has observed is that most of the local publishers are running to Ilahabad and Vanarashi, Indian cities to print books by taking benefit of the government’s tax free policy on education materials. Our printers’ association was complaining that such a trend of the publishers is taking income outside the country and the local printers were not getting the printing jobs due to this practice. This scribe believes that from the 10 percent tax policy, the publishers will be discouraged to go to the Indian cities even to publish one book. On the other hand, the fact is that the publishers are taking enough profit while fixing the price of the books they have published. From such a profit margin, the publishers are providing minimum 30 percent as commission to the bookstores. The question is that when the publishers are providing a minimum 30 percent as commission, why are they opposing the 10 percent tax imposed by the government on import of such printed materials!
The above are the two good decisions of the government, however, another decision of the very government has fallen into a serious controversy. That is the decision of sponsoring one billion rupees by the government organs – Kathmandu Metropolis, Nepal Tourism Board, among others — to the International Indian Film Academy to organise the award ceremony in Kathmandu. This is the decision made by our prime minister or the government on whim. The Nepal Communist Party cadres who are in PM KP Oli’s group, are predicting that the event would help to promote the flow of Indian tourists visiting Nepal. Meanwhile, the opposition groups within the party, including Bhim Rawal, have made strong remarks against the government idea of sponsoring the Indian film academy from the taxpayers’ money. Some medical experts have remarked that from one billion rupees, they could establish a good hospital in Nepal.
We, too, oppose the decision of encouraging the Indian films by the government of NCP which claims to be a nationalist. I still remember both the then CPN (UML) and the then Maoists who have merged now, demanding the banning of Indian movies and songs!
The taxpayers’ money should not be misused in the promotion of the Indian films, may be, personally, PM Oli likes Indian films and he could be a fan of the Indian actors and actresses, but he is not allowed to go against the greater interests of the nation!