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.


  1. Dr. Shakya's account is a well-grounded and well-stated challenge to what seems inadequate or sloppy research by others. Still others in solid academic standing need to look into this properly and, as appropriate, verify Dr. Shakya's challenge and affirmations.