I would call it a sad event. Nepal Samacharpatra, a national daily, published a cartoon on Sunday that explicitly accused Kantipur Publications, the leading publishing house in the country, of propaganda and yellow journalism.
The cartoon, published three columns on the front page, shows four members of the International Media Mission that recently visited Nepal to assess the media situation in the country looking amusingly at two on their knees. Even a layman in Nepal would recognize the two as the publisher and managing director of Kantipur Publication.
The two if portrayed saying: We are doing propaganda in the name of journalism, we have also gone to jail after being questioned by CIAA (Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority) but still the government provides no advertisements to us. Please, sirs, find the medicine of this ‘yellow’ disease when you are here. The banner behind reads: International Media Mission – Bhrantipur Publication and the observer on the right bottom saying: it’s all because of your own deeds.
Since I have worked in Nepal Samacharpatra before moving to Kantipur Publications, I feel so bad about it. I haven’t heard or tried to know the reactions among the corporate or editors here but I feel really bad about one media going against another media; that too in such a situation when there is a pressing need for the unity among them to fight for press freedom.
The government in Nepal have introduced strict press laws and tried to tame media in many ways including the one called One-Door Advertising Policy (ODAP). The policy means that only one government policy would distribute the government ads to only those media who register to the agency. Nepal Samacharpatra is registered while Kantipur isn’t. But the policy hadn’t affected Kantipur as much as other small newspapers relying mostly on government ads.
It’s sad that time and again media in Nepal fight against each other. Once, Nepal Samacharpatra fuelled an anti-Kantipur boss protest outside Kathmandu and covered it as if it was the biggest event needing regular follow-ups. Then they joined hands along with some other to protest the foreign investment in media directed towards The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post publishing full-page ‘nationalist’ ads frequently.
I believe newspaper should not refrain from exposing other media’s wrongdoings but all that based on the bias (be that political ideologies or other) is something media shouldn’t do. There could be difference on many things among newspapers (and they are the enemies when it comes to breaking news or market), but for the basic things like press freedom they should never let the unity break.