Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Media Should Speak Out Against Lawlessness in Nepal

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

As we enter a new year, there's plenty for we media folks to be concerned about. Black marketing, corruption, nepotism and misuse of power etc are rampant in Nepal today. And it is the duty of the mainstream media not only to point out the flaws in the governance but also to spill the beans on the corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen.

The newspaper industry has an immense opportunity to surprise and delight the common people of Nepal -- if they really and truly know what investigative reporting is -- by publishing news stories about the people related to corruption and black marketing  of essential goods like cooking gas and petrol.

It is not that the Nepalese FMs and TVs  as well as the newspapers are not pointing out the flaws and shortcomings in the governance. But it is not enough, for sure. There are growing signs of discontent with the government's approach to the current situation with critics accusing prime minister K P Oli of recklessly plunging Nepal into an unprecedented  economic crisis. The blockade orchestrated by the Terai Madhesi parties has already enough negative consequences on the people. According to media reports, right now, there is enough petrol in the depots of the Nepal Oil Corporation. However, there is acute scarcity of petrol and cooking gas in the market. Paradoxically, petrol and cooking gas are available in plenty in  the black market. It looks like under the Oli government the black marketing has been legitimized. It is the millions of simple and poor people who are suffering from this situation.

The economic blockade has added to unprecendented troubles to the people who were couping with the consequences of the massive earthquake. This is the time of great distress and anxiety for the Nepalese. When the politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen are conniving with each other to trouble and cheat the people, who else can help the people except the media? As the watchdog of the nation, the media should be able to expose the misdeeds and crimes of corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen.

The politicians and parties also understand the need to avert any kind of political catastrophe that may arise if the current crisis is not figured out. But there is the lack of will and commitment to do something for the good of the people.

The 100-day honeymoon period of the Oli government passed without zero achievement, and the government is not even ashamed a little bit. Everybody is angry in Nepal. The Nepalese people are struggling with the high cost of making ends meet. People are totally discontented with the corrupt Oli government.

It is already time for the mainstream media to speak out against the rampant black marketing and lawlessness. Not just speaking out, but they should bring out more news stories about the corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and greedy businessmen who are looting and cheating the common people of Nepal. Why are the politicians and bureaucrats impune from the crimes they are committing against the people ? If the culture of impunity is not uprooted and proper discipline is not enforced, the nation can easily plunge further into civil chaos, poverty and lawlessness.

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