Sunday, June 28, 2015

ABC of Reporting

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Lecturer of Journalism, Peoples Campus, RR Campus.

Despite the decline of the newspaper industry in developed countries like the US, the UK and Canada etc, the scope of print journalism is still on the rise in countries like India and Nepal. Despite low salaries and unfavourable working conditions, more and more people are still attracted to journalism in countries like Nepal and India.

The US is the country where great newspapers of the world: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post etc are published. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the reporters of The Washington Post and their investigative coverage of the Watergate scandal prompted the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1973.

Today, the scope and integrity of journalism  is on the decline in countries like the US and the UK.  Financially, job of journalists and reporters is not lucrative and is one of the worst paid jobs in the US. According to a recent news story report, newspaper reporter, which displaced lumberjack as the worst job of 2015, has a negative growth outlook of $36,267. Broadcaster and photojournalist, with mid-level annual salaries of less than $ 30,000, also ranked at the bottom of the list.

The unwanted snooping and questionable reporting practices in the US and the UK in recent times have seriously become alarming setbacks for journalism in these  countries.

But still, many American and Western journalists are working at dangerous war and conflict zones, and so many American and Western journalists have been ruthlessly beheaded by the ISIS Islamofascists recently. Well, journalists gather news and information to keep the people informed about important incidents and accidents.

Actually, a selfless desire to dig information is the quintessence of the virtue of true journalism. More often than not, for this, journalists have even to sacrifice with their lives. In the last 15 years, more than 700 journalists have been assassinated, making journalism one of the most deadliest and vulnerable profession in the world.

Majority of journalists and reporters across the world believe the adage that we comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. But there is also no dearth of journalists and reporters who act as the lapdogs of the powerful politicians and business tycoons. There are also a lot of journalists across the world who go after the people they know will not bite back.

And again speaking of reporting,  "telling all sides of a news story" is the best mantra for a reporter. Likewise, a reporter should always focus on ABC: accuracy, balancedness and credibility of the news story.

As a news reporter, if you are not able to reach a person or an organization, you say that in your news story. And if a person denies allegations or accusations in a story, you include that too and it goes without saying that reporting all sides bolsters the credibility of the news story and enhances its newsworthiness. Lately, there have been lots of scandals related to the reporting practices due to the lack of covering all sides of the stories.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

NRNA-USA Oregon Chapter's First General Meeting Kicks Off

By Dr Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal,
State Education Director, NRNA NCC USA, Oregon chapter.

                                          Office bearers of NRNA USA Oregon chapter outside
                                          of the Chapter's office.

                                          The newly inaugurated office of the NRNA USA Oregon
                                          Chapter's office.

The first general meeting of Non-resident Nepalese Association (NRNA) USA - Oregon Chapter kicked off on Friday, June 19, 2015 amid a gala function at the US West Coast Taekwondo Hollywood in Portland with national anthem of Nepal played by Kabitanjali Amatya.

Charge D' Affairs  of the Nepalese Embassy in the US Mr Rishi Ram Ghimire and representative of the Embassy Mr Deepak Sharma jointly inaugurated the opening ceremony of NRNA USA Oregon Chapter by lightening the traditional Nepalese twaadewaa.

Charge D' Affairs Mr Ghimire and embassy representative Mr Sharma were on the occasion wrapped with Khatas by the officials of the NRNA Oregon Chapter as well as by office bearers of Nepa Chhen, a cultural center for Nepalese community in Oregon.

The NRNA USA Oregon chapter's first general meeting was presided over by its chairman Diwakar Maharjan. In his welcome remarks, Mr Maharjan expressed the view that the NRNA Oregon Chapter would aim at keeping closer relationship among the diaspora in Oregon and said that our mantra is: Once a Nepali,  always a Nepali.

Speaking on the occasion, Charge D' Affairs Mr Ghimire expressed best wishes to the newly elected body of the NRNA USA Oregon Chapter. Mr Ghimire on the occasion gave away membership identification tags to the newly elected office bearers of the NRNA USA Oregon Chapter.

NRNA USA Oregon chapter general secretary Mr Sunil Rajkarnikar expressed gratitude to guests from the Embassy for coming to Oregon to open the ceremony and also for finding time to help the diaspora with the Machine Readable Passports (MRPs).

Mr Rajkarnikar said that the Chapter intends to work as a bridge between the diaspora of Oregon, NRNA-NCC-USA and the Nepalese Embassy in the US.

Also speaking on the occasion was president of Nepal Aadivasi Janjati Sangh, California Mr Dandi Sherpa who expressed the belief that the NRNA Oregon Chapter would be able to focus on the interests of the diaspora of Oregon.

An interaction program on MRPs was also organized on the occasion.

The NRNA USA Oregon Chapter's first general meeting was moderated by Chapter's vice president Daya Shakya and vote of thanks was given by Chapter's executive member Ramesh Bhandari at the program which was attended by about 100 general members of the NRNA Oregon Chapter.

                                          Individual members of NRNA USA Oregon chapter
                                           during the dinner.

Later, that evening, president of NRNA NCC USA Dr Keshav Poudel inaugurated the office of the NRNA Oregon Chapter by cutting the ribbon. Speaking on the occasion, NRNA NCC USA president Dr Poudel expressed his happiness to open the first office of the NRNA Oregon Chapter. Dr Poudel congratulated the office bearers of the NRNA Oregon Chapter and added that NRNA Oregon Chapter has made a history by opening the first official office of the NRNA state chapter even when it is still in the infantile stage.

NRNA USA chief Dr Poudel expressed the view that the NRNA Oregon Chapter would serve as a broader platform that accommodates interests of the Nepalese in Oregon.

Meanwhile, in what could be a landmark event in the chronicles of Nepalese diaspora in Oregon, the NRNA Oregon Chapter's executive committee was elected unanimously recently. Diwakar Maharjan, Daya Ratna Shakya, Sunil Rajkarnikar and Jitendra Bajracharya were elected president, vice president, general secretary and treasurer of the Chapter unopposed.

                                            Guests and officials of NRNA USA Oregon chapter
                                             on the podium.

Likewise, Dr Manoj Kansakar, Dr Rabin Man Shakya, Sita Kumari Rai, Shrijana Sthapit, Ramesh Bhandari, Pradeep Bajracharya and Surya Thapa Chhetri have been elected  unanimously executive members of the  NRNA USA Oregon Chapter.

The formation of the NRNA USA Oregon Chapter is, no doubt, a testimony of the growing NRNA awareness among the Nepalese diaspora in the north west US.  Hopefully, NRNA USA Oregon Chapter will successfully move to centerstage in the broader activities of the Nepalese diaspora in Oregon.

*I value your opinion. Please provide your feedback by posting a comment below.
**Please read my another blog headlined "NRNA and the issue of dual citizenship" in the month of January, 2015. Thank you.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Have the Nepalese Politicians Finally Seen the Light?

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Lecturer of Journalism, Peoples Campus, RR Campus

In the period since the earthquake aftermath, many people in Nepal are seeing a little light at the end of the "constitution-writing" tunnel. That is because many analysts believe the Nepalese political stalwarts of every hue have finally seen the light about the real importance of constitution writing, albeit only after the great devastation caused by the apocalyptic earthquake and only after the Nepalese people in the social media and the  Nepalese media have presented the activities of the Nepalese political parties in the worst possible light.

The need for showing political unity and the need for boosting public confidence in the post-earthquake period should have prompted and pushed the warring political parties of Nepal to reach a compromise on constitution writing.

Since no provision in the interim constitution can be endorsed without a three-fourth majority in the Constituent Assembly, the three main political parties: the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal - United Marxist Leninist and the United Communist Party of Nepal - Maoists have no options other than to reach a compromise by figuring out the contentious issues.

What a chutzpah!  As a matter of fact, the Nepalese political parties have consistently worked to somehow deadlock the constitution writing process. In fact, the Nepalese people are sick and tired of the pernicious lies of the political stalwarts. They have been saying in the media, social media and other platforms that they are sick and tired with the way things are going in Nepal.

Although the Nepalese people  have time and again been emphasizing in the media and the social media on the need for building consensus among the political parties for enforcing the new constitution, the major political triumvirates of Nepal -- the NC,  the UML and the Maoists were always embroiled in a tug of war for power.

In the past, the Nepalese political parties and the political stalwarts seemed more concerned and preoccupied by their personal and partisan interests rather than the interests of the common people and the nation.

The discrepancy between the rhetoric and action was palpable and this was the problem in finding an amicable solution to the breakthrough  of the new constitution. Going by the posts of the people in the social media, it is obvious that the Nepalese people were frustrated and discontented by the rhetorical tautology of the pugnacious politicians.

Finally, the intransigence and stubbornness of the Nepalese politicians have been shattered by the changing political equilibrium in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. By striking a deal on historical compromise for constitution writing, the Nepalese politicos have shown flexibility and aspirations to work for formulating the constitution. This must be the last chance for them.

The recent ground breaking compromise between the three big brothers is a testimony to the fact that no differences and disagreements can be irresolvable if the politicians are willing to compromise on the broader interests of the nation and the people.

However, the Nepalese people are still skeptical about the compromise deal between the major political parties of Nepal. Everybody knows about the vested and strategic interests of the political parties (ruling as well as opposition) in striking the compromise deal.

Apparently, subscribing to the maxim "the proof of the pudding is in the eating",  we, the Nepalese people inside as well as outside of Nepal have to wait until the constitution is enforced by the Constituent Assembly of Nepal.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

So Who is the First Journalism Ph D in Nepal?

Dr Rabin Man Shakya
Former Lecturer of Journalism, Peoples Campus, RR Campus
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

First of all, I would like to thank Shanta Ram Bidari for his story headlined "Who are the journalists doing Ph Ds?" in the Reporter Bidari detailed the names and activities of the Nepalese persons who are doing Ph Ds in journalism as well as those who have done Ph Ds in journalism.

Although reporter Bidari attempted to give the details of Ph Ds in journalism in Nepal, he pooh-poohed the whole story by missing a number of important details. Yugeshwar Prasad Verma did a Ph.D entitled "The English Language Press in Nepal" in 1973 from the Central Department of English, Tribhuvan University. Verma  was not a journalist nor had he any journalistic background,  journalistic degrees like BA or MA in journalism.  Verma was a professor of English at the Central English Department, Tribhuvan University. It was a time when there was not a single school of journalism in Nepal. As a matter of fact, there were no journalism classes even in IA level in journalism at the RR Campus when Verma did his Ph D at the Central Department of English, Tribhuvan University.  Journalism education at the level of IA was launched at the RR Campus, Tribhuvan University only in 1976.

Some salient facts were not mentioned in Bidari's story. Yours truly, that is, Rabin Man Shakya was the first Nepali person to do Ph D in journalism under the theme "The Press in Nepal: Political Orientation, Problems of Growth and Challenges" from the School of Journalism at the Moscow State University in 1989. Prior to that, I successfully completed and passed my Masters Degree in Journalism from the School of Journalism at the Belorussian State University in 1985. Prof Dr Ivan Ivanovich Sachenko of the School of Journalism at the Belorussian State University, Minsk was my guide.

Among the women, Geeta Maiya Shrestha was the first to defend the Ph D thesis in journalism at the Belorussian State University. I was amazed at the mendacity that would come from the mouth of a senior journalist and professor P. Kharel who wrongly and falsely told a gathering in Kathmandu that Geeta Maiya Shrestha was the first person to do Ph D in journalism, and more so that many journalists would believe him. As a matter of fact, Ms Shrestha and I were at the same school of journalism at the Belorussian State University, except she was three years junior than me. Likewise, Dr Manju Mishra of College of Journalism and Mass Communication (CJMC) also has been wrongly harping on about Geeta Maiya Shrestha being the first journalism Ph D of Nepal.

For that matter, a number of journalists and observers have been wrongly portraying Dr Manju Mishra as the first Ph D in journalism, which is totally wrong and incorrect.

Similarly, "People's Review" (July 15, 2015) under the heading "Ph D Tendency" misled its readers by stating that Pradeep Bhattarai "should be recognized as the first journalist who had done his Ph D". Interestingly, the People's Review, however, did not or was not able to mention when and in which university did Bhattarai defend his Ph D thesis.

As a journalist, you learn to be cautious of everything that is said to you. Everyone has an angle. So part of a journalist's job is to vet the person who is giving you information to better figure out what that angle or bias is.

Just for record,  therefore, in the history of journalism education in Nepal, Dr Geeta Maiya Shrestha and Dr Manju Mishra are second and third Ph D holders in Journalism respectively after me. Late Dr Achyut Babu Koirala was another earlier Ph D degree holder also from the BSU. In a way, the Nepalese media education will be indebted to Soviet educational establishments like the Moscow State University, Belorussian State University and Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University for producing the first Ph Ds in journalism in Nepal. Likewise, senior Nepali politician and former journalist Nilambar Acharya deserves a special mention for being the first Nepali to earn an MA in journalism from Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University, Moscow. Similarly, Prabal Pokhrel and Badri Poudel, the experienced Associate Professors at the Central Department of Journalism, TU are also the alumni of BSU, Minsk and Peoples' Friendship University, Moscow respectively.

Likewise, mention must be made of Dr Dharma Adhikari who came to the USA in the Fulbright Scholarship program in 1998 and later earned a Master's as well as a Ph D degree from Missouri School of Journalism.

Bidari in his story falsely and wrongly claims that "Dr Mahendra Bista, president of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists,  has become the first Ph D degree holder in the journalism sector." That Bidari's story was not based on detailed research and investigation was palpable from the wrong as well as missing information in the story.

A number of Nepalese journalists and journalism teachers, according to Bidari's story, are doing or have already done Ph Ds in journalism, or communication from educational establishments like the Nepal Sanskrit University and Lumbini University which have nothing to do with journalism education, communication and mass communication.

A more valid and authentic Ph D in Journalism is, no doubt, done at a school of journalism where journalism professors have doctoral and post-doctoral degrees too. Likewise, a Ph D in journalism is more relevant  when an aspiring Ph D scholar has also done his Masters Degree in Journalism.

*I value your opinion. Please provide your feedback by posting a comment below.
*Shakya is also State Education Director, NRNA - USA Oregon Chapter, Portland, USA.