Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nepali Journalism, Nepal Pukar and Krishna Prasad Bhattarai

By Dr Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

Who was the first chairman of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists ? Who was the first and last Nepali journalist to take an interview with  late Nikita Khrushchev, the then general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) ?

The answers of both the questions are late Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, the former prime minister of Nepal and one of the senior leaders of Nepali Congress, popularly known as Kisunji among the rank and file of the Nepali Congress.

Actually, speaking of the history of Nepalese journalism, absence of conducive political conditions and fear of omnipotent Ranas had prompted some of the progressive-minded Nepalese intellectuals to start the journalistic activities not from within the territory of Nepal, but from abroad.

Although publications like Gorkhapatra, Sudha Sagar, Sharada, Gharelu Ilam Patrika, Udyog etc were published in Nepal during the Rana period, political materials were not allowed to be published in those publications.

Obviously, political reporting was prohibited in Nepal until the Rana regime was toppled down in 1951. Political journalism kicked off in Nepal after the political change in 1951. The political parties were well aware about the usefulness and influence of the print media. Therefore, a number of political parties started launching the newspapers.

Newspapers like Nepal Pukar and Nava Nepal were being published by the Nepali Congress while Nepal Communist Party started publishing the newspaper Nava Yug, just to mention few of them.

The importance that the Nepali Congress gave to the print media can easily be extrapolated by the fact that senior party leader Krishna Prasad Bhattarai was made the editor of the newspaper "Nepal Pukar"

 By the same token, Bhattarai was the first president and founder of the Fedaration of Nepalese Journalists, the umbrella organization of the Nepalese journalists, which was then called the Nepal Journalists Association.

Late Bhattarai was one of the members of the Nepalese journalists delegation that visited the former Soviet Union in 1957. It was during this visit that late Bhattarai took an interview with late Nikita Khrushchev, the former powerful general secretary of the then CPSU, becoming one of the first few foreign journalists to interview the top Communist leader of that time.

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**Shakya is also State Education Director, NRNA-USA Oregon Chapter, Portland, USA.

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