Leave pol­i­tics be­hind

People's Review - - COMMENTARY - BY D.M. THAPA

I AM not EX­ACTLY A JOUR­NAL­IST, THOUGH I WRITE FOR DIF­FER­ENT PA­PERS, BUT I HAVE SEEN JOUR­NAL­ISTS AT CLOSE QUAR­TERS FOR A LONG, LONG TIME. The lead­er­ship in the Fed­er­a­tion of Nepalese Jour­nal­ists ( FNJ) looked with in­ter­est the elec­tion for a new leader of this or­ga­ni­zar­ion which has branch of­fices in al­most all dis­tricts of the coun­try. With such a huge net­work and di­rect con­nec­tion with politi­cians, FNJ car­ries a lot of clout. Fur­ther­more af­ter Western gov­ern­ments and also the In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists, (IFJ) started pour­ing in money into FNJ, this or­ga­ni­za­tion started be­com­ing even stronger. It also be­came a lu­cra­tive place to which many jour­nal­ists were at­tracted. Upto five mil­lion dol­lars was dis­trib­uted to dif­fer­ent me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions dur­ing the sec­ond po­lit­i­cal up­heaval in 2006. There were hordes of for­eign jour­nal­ists in Kath­mandu at that time. One se­nior jour­nal­ist who met with these for­eign­ers, both jour­nal­ists and of­fi­cials of IFJ told me that they were so rigid that they did not wish to hear any rea­son­ing of the Nepali side. When the Nepali peo­ple were suf­fer­ing from months of po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence and also weeks of bandhs which vir­tu­ally closed down Kath­mandu, one Bri­tish jour­nal­ist com­plained to him that he could not get his pizza at Fire and Ice, a pop­u­lar eatery for for­eign­ers! That was ridicu­lous and this showed the one sided comfort only for­eign­ers wanted. This comfort in­cluded mould­ing the Nepali me­dia as they wanted to and bring­ing fur­ther tur­bu­lence in Nepal. Are these for­eign me­dia peo­ple in­ter­ested only in po­lit­i­cal tur­moil and ful­fill­ing their own in­ter­ests? Where were these so con­cerned for­eign me­dia peo­ple when such a big earthquake shook Nepal and where are they now when hun­dreds of peo­ple have lost their lives in floods and land­slides and thou­sands have been dis­placed? Now, at the time of writ­ing this ar­ti­cle, a new pres­i­dent of FNJ, and other of­fice bear­ers have al­ready been elected. There are too many names and all can­not be men­tioned here, but the new pres­i­dent is Govinda Acharya who is the polit­buro mem­ber of the Maoist Cen­ter. And like al­ways the other posts, 44 in all, have been “shared” by the Maoist Cen­ter, Nepali Congress and UML af­fil­i­ated jour­nal­ists. This au­thor has never seen any in­de­pen­dent and good jour­nal­ist be­ing elected in FNJ, ap­pointed in one me­dia com­mis­sion or the other, or be­ing made am­bas­sadors and this and that. You have to hang on to the coat tails of the big par­ties to move for­ward, no mat­ter how tal­ented or good a jour­nal­ist you are. But medi­ocre and even hope­less jour­nal­ists who ac­tu­ally have hardly writ­ten any­thing are pushed and pulled by the par­ties to good po­si­tions. So be a party man or even a cadre and move for­ward, but don't ever be an in­de­pen­dent jour­nal­ist no mat­ter how good you are at your job. The newly elected pres­i­dent of FNJ, con­sid­ered the um­brella or­ga­ni­za­tion of all jour­nal­ists in the coun­try, soon af­ter his elec­toral vic­tory has said that he will en­com­pass all jour­nal­ists and move for­ward. Go­ing by past his­tory, this seems a dif­fi­cult task and in­de­pen­dent jour­nal­ist will be side­lined and left in a lurch. As the pres­i­dent of FNJ he should work for the well fare of all me­dia peo­ple and not as a party worker. He should leave pol­i­tics be­hind and be a real pro­fes­sional to be a sound leader. We wish him the best and suc­cess in his work.

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