If you read Nepal’s newspapers (some of them), Indian Embassy issued a press release directly attacking the press freedom and went beyond the diplomatic norms.
If you read reports in some of Indian newspapers, Nepali media fraternity declared war against India by stoking anti-Indian sentiments for some of the media ‘unethically published news against products of Indian joint venture’.
A cursory look at the press release issued by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu does not seem to be anything wrong. It does not directly attack the press freedom. I believe if anyone urges government to take appropriate action against unethical practices, there is nothing wrong.
But the scenario does not end here: the press release needs rethinking as it was issued by the Indian Embassy – the representative of the Indian government in Kathmandu. And, it also needs rethinking because the Indian Embassy is trying to bully Nepal on a lot of issues, more during the ambassadorship of Rakesh Sood.
I believe that Indian Embassy’s press release was unnecessary – both for the diplomatic norms and for practicality. Indian Embassy could have safely approached the concerned Nepali authorities via the Nepali foreign affairs ministry to make such a request officially. If they issued a press release, they meant they wanted to take on media themselves – a very wrong approach.
I do also believe that the beefing up of the issue by the media – and it looked like only some of the media – too was unnecessary because if an embassy crosses its diplomatic norms and do something as silly as releasing a press release on such petty issue, it’s something to ridicule. Publishing front-page news day after day, and opinions and editorials just doesn’t seem to do justice to the media space for this is not an issue of big importance.
If even the report published about the product of Dabur Nepal are biased as claimed (they claimed the newspapers published reports for they did not give advertisements to those particular newspapers in questions), there are ways in which the company can quash the reports and even move to the Press Council of Nepal for necessary action authorized by the legal provisions of Nepal.
About anti-Indian sentiments in Nepal, I believe it’s growing in last few years – more because of the activities of the Indian Embassy, and India, rather than anything else. Their attempt to bully Nepal in political issues and their media’s approach to associate Nepal with the land of abductors or no law or Pakistani playground has been instrumental in increasing the sentiments – especially among youths.
For India, the world superpower in next few decades, it’s unnecessary to bully a small neighbor; rather it’s of their best interest to keep Nepal calm, developing and stable largely because they have plenty of issues to resolve with other bigger neighbors – Pakistan and China. And, it’s better for India to ensure that Nepali people like India rather than dislike it.
And, India should become a caring big brother, rather than bullying one, by supporting in Nepal’s initiatives to develop, become calm and stable by supporting, but not dictating, those attempts. And, right now it looks like if they really want to be show Nepalis that they do care about Nepal, they should call back the current ambassador!