Monday, March 6, 2017

Stop Giving Biased Headlines

Rabin Man Shakya

Lately Nepalese tabloid newspapers and Nepali online media has gained notoriety in disseminating the biased and unfair headlines in their news stories. "Marwaris, Newars among 33 kg gold smugglers nabbed by DIG Silwal (Names Disclosed)" was the headline of a news story published by the SuryaKhabar online portal on Falgun 22, 2073 BS.

The above headline is not only boring, biased, unfair and unprofessional, it is also an epitome of the Yellow Journalism which unfortunately is still rampant in the Nepalese print journalism as well as in the online Nepali media.

It is to be noted that Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police had arrested 12 persons (among 30 involved) and seized 33 kg of gold from their possession at the Tribhuvan International Airport in January.

The gold was flown in from UAE via an Air Arabia flight and had passed undetected through the corrupt airport customs. It was later seized at the Golden Gate of the airport, according to the media reports.

Among the 30 persons involved in the gold smuggling, 17 are Bahuns, 8 Chhetris, 3 Newars and 2 Marwaris. Therefore, it is obvious that the intention of headline of the SuryaKhabar online news is to discredit the Newars and Marwaris in particular.

Giving headlines in the newspapers and online news portals is a big responsibility. But accuracy and balancedness must be taken into consideration while giving a headline.  Giving an attractive and good headline to a news story is a skill, a creativity and an art. Sometimes even a dull news story filed by a junior newspaper reporter can be presented into lively news story with the help of a stylish and attractive headline and with some brilliant editing.

There is no doubt that a headline must be eye-catching and attractive. It should be able to grab the attention of the readers. Likewise, a headline must be able to prompt the readers to go through the full news story. A headline must be balanced and must give a gist of the news story that ensues. Journalists should never give biased and unfair headlines like the one in the SuryaKhabar online news.

It goes without saying that journalists should always exercise sound judgement and should not bring discredit and dishonor to the calling referred to as the Fourth Estate by disseminating incorrect and misleading headlines.