APRIL 20, 2010 Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) has planned to launch its own television channel and a national broadsheet daily, according to national dailies of Nepal. Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai presented a concept paper in this regard during a training session at party headquarters, Paris Danda on April 18. Maoists have already formed two committees – editorial led by Dr Bhattarai and managerial by Dinanath Sharma -- to study if launching a television channel would also be viable.
Dr Bhattarai also proposed to uplink the Maoist FM radio Mirmire to satellite.Quoting a participant of the training session, the news reports have stated that the party had classified the Maoist publications into three categories -- central, regional and local. “While the central publications will be directly monitored by the party’s top body, the regional and local publications will be handled by the corresponding committees,” the news further mentioned.
Participant of the training said the party took the decision as various publication houses have been found collecting advertisements in the name of the party and the party expects the new move would discourage the trend.
The meeting has categorized Janadisha daily, Janadesh weekly, Red Star fortnightly and Samsleshan monthly as central publications under the direct monitoring of the party.
“Perhaps the tabloid-sized Janadisha daily will be converted into a broadsheet daily and Janadisha weekly into a magazine,” he said. The party took the move to manage its media and make the dissemination of information and views effective.
Speaking at the training session, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal directed the revolutionary journalists to ask people to hit the streets for the promulgation of the people’s constitution.
Freedom Forum, being a promising organization to promote and protect freedom of expression and of press in Nepal, is amazed by Maoists plan to run TV and newspaper under the purview of party. The Maoists opting for introducing and imposing partisan journalism is entirely against the spirit of press freedom and freedom of expression in particular and democratic norms in general.
If political parties themselves engage in operating media houses, it will ultimately dwindle media professionalism and freedom with the dissemination of guided and controlled information. Consequently, the essence and significance of media to help people make opinion by imparting accurate, balance and credible information will crush and it becomes a means to serve petty interests and propaganda of party.
"The decision reveals that Maoists are not satisfied with current professional development of Nepali independent media, and eager to uphold sponsored media as their mouth-piece and suppress other media," says Taranath Dahal, chairperson of Freedom Forum.
"Guided information will obstruct free flow of opinion and expression," Dahal adds, "The free and professional media which is deemed pre-requisite for democracy will not sustain if other parties also follow this trend."
It is to mention that Maoist is the main opposition party in Nepal securing top position in the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections. It has already operated some newspapers and radio stations in Nepal.
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