BY D. M. THAPA
The media has rarely been positive on most issues from decades back. Our politics has also been mainly negative. There were some journalists who campaigned for as what used to be called “development journalism”. They tried to report the positive aspects in the society, so that others would also be inspired to follow such a path that would bring prosperity and goodwill in the nation.
But at that time, quite understandingly, many pioneer journalists were involved in mission journalism as they wanted to see political change in the country. The then major political parties quite cleverly used mostly teachers, students and also media persons to fulfill their “mission”, which was to bring political change.
Unfortunately, this attitude did not change when there was a major political change in 1990. The political parties, mostly the Nepali Congress and the Communists were always at loggerheads and in fact politics not only turned violent and nasty, but favouritism and nepotism started reaching new heights and the country started to suffer even more than it did during what is described as autocratic rule. Individuals were selected and appointed not any merit basis, but through sheer political and partisan reasons.
With constant foreign interference and political leaders, media persons and civil society leaders depending on outsiders and caring little about the real state of the nation, more people suffered and only a few individuals amassed huge amounts of ill-earned wealth. Corruption even at present, is at an all time high and we are also seeing high level politicians being involved in heinous crimes. Corruption has become an accepted part of life and with the same old faces coming to the helm of the government and other important posts, the situation looks grim.
Perhaps that is one of the major reasons why many Nepalese citizens are going to foreign shores in thousands and most of our youths are doing dangerous and dirty jobs in the developed nations. Obviously, the favourite destination of virtually most Nepalese is to go to the US, some European countries and Australia. Others who can’t do this settle for work in any place be it in Africa or the Middle East. Some do well, but others barely eke out a living in harsh conditions, many times even losing their lives or ending up in jail.
Here in Nepal itself, while the youths who are so much needed for the nation to develop, are going in hordes to manpower agencies and foreign consultants, while some people in lucrative posts or with high level political contacts are getting richer by the day, while nobody questions them about their source of income. Some popular media outlets have even accused high level bureaucrats and security officers of being involved in corrupt activities and building fancy houses in Kathmandu and elsewhere apart from hiding much money and jewelry.
At this unfortunate juncture, it is even more sad that Prime Minister KP Oli is going abroad to undergo a major operation and he may not be able to carry out his official duties for some months. Two major political leaders, namely former House Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who originally is a Maoist leader and former minister belonging to the Nepali Congress are spending time in jail. Former top generals of the Nepal Police, infamous for its corrupt practices, have already spent time in jail and many honest officers are ashamed how their fellow officers brought down the morale of the entire Force, due to their sheer greed. Now according to media reports, even the former Chief of the Nepal Army, an “untouchable” institution in the past, was involved in massive corruption and is presently residing in the United States. The current Chief has said that he will never waver from his policy of “zero level tolerance” of any corrupt activities within the Army but we will have to wait and see just what happens.
Yes, corruption at all levels, mostly in the government agencies and also in the private sector has highly affected the entire economy of the country and with what seem like visionless political leaders, the people are steadily refusing to believe either in the system, the leaders or also the media outlets. A time has come when there has to be some major changes, politically, socially and economically for the nation to turn a new leaf so that the entire people can live in an environment of peace prosperity and good harmony. It can be hoped that young and dynamic leaders will come forth in the near future to fulfill the aspirations of the people and keep intact their faith in a democratic set-up, where all will prosper and not only a handful of corrupt individuals.