An afterthought on Harsha’s comments on exclusion of blogs from the media content study during the period of Royal Rule in Nepal.

Khoj Patrakarita Kendra (Centre for Investigative Journalism) has published a book, Sankatkalma Samachar(News during Emergency ). It is a content analysis of main print media in Nepal for three months of the state of emergency. It also includes the scenario of FM radios. But it has left online media.

All Nepali bloggers will agree that blogs influence in the country is very little; but bloggers like me who blogged during the King’s direct rule will also agree that during the period blogs were something unavoidable – and all those with internet access will at least visit blogs – mostly United We Blog! and Mero Sansar, frequently.

The power of blogs was realized by everyone. Beginning of Chaubise – the blog from the 24 detainees at Duwakot barracks that included all prominent figures like Laxman Prasad Aryal, Kanak Mani Dixit, Daman Nath Dhungana and Madhu Ghimire, can be an example.

International media covered blogs as the front runners in dispatching uncensored news from the country but once the people’s movement gained the momentum and then the mainstream media defied the censorship publishing pro-democracy thoughts – long after blogs did so – blogs went into backstage. Of course, blogs were still quicker than MSM.

In April, I was invited to participate in a conference in Manila. The theme of the conference was Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace and Kunda Dixit, the editor of Nepali Times, was among the panelist and his presentation was titled ‘Virtual Freedom in Nepal: How to Protect a Country From Disappearing‘. It was a good presentation and it talked about the situation of Nepali media and how they defied the tight censorship and the advantages and disadvantages of internet as a medium.

I was little disappointed when the mention of blogs came in the last slide (the presentation itself only has 9 slides). And, he just said those sites were also dispatched news from Nepal.

From Manila, I went to Singapore for a three-day tour and I stayed with my friends and found that whoever Nepali I visit there had either UWB! or Mero Sansar as their homepage on the browser. (This was probably one of the early moments when I realized that blogs were big!).

And, this is true for bloggers now too. Despite the world taking the blogs as a powerful grassroot medium, Nepali journalists and researchers are not either intentionally leaving them out or do not want to accept the fact that blogs are a medium.

This, for me, is not surprising however. Because we tend to accept things late and do not want to step in the new territory easily and then why would a MSM expert will want to go from zero to learn about new technology?

[tags]nepal, media, blog, blogging, mainstream[/tags]

11 Thoughts on “Ignoring Blogs!

  1. Blog is more powerful than a rag.

  2. Bloggers are going to make them jobless. That is why they are ignoring bloggers. They should have at least given some credits to UWB and My Sansar which helped to galvanize Nepali diaspora against Gyanendra.

  3. Its not new thing that the study has left out the online media. Even today the Internet and its power is not taken seriously in Nepal. People still have mentality that internet is just about email and chats. They never come out of the old mentality that internet has more use than just those two things.

  4. Instead of crying “FOUL” when we feel being ignored, we should look into the reason behind it. IMHO, it is all about accessibility and information. Do we know what is the pentration ratio of a traditional print media (say per 1000 person); same of radio; tv? And how does internet fair compared to these established mediums? Obviously, internet access does demand some pre-requisites – electricity, telephony or wireless link and computer. In a country like ours, Internet access is easier said than done even for a working professional in Kathmandu. When I was in Nepal, just a couple of years back, I couldn’t afford to keep an Internet acces at home – and that was with my salary, working as an NTC engineer (you can’t avoid the irony). It was either Internet or “maasu-bhat” on Saturdays….I chose maasu-bhat. Given that circumstance, I don’t see why top-most importance to blogs should be the expectation.
    It goes without saying, for expatriates blogs could prove to be a primary source of information, news and networking. Esp. when the news is hard to come by, like during G’s crackdown, blogs contribution had been enormous to everyone (read: everyone who knows what a blog is) living abroad. The question still remains, what is the penetration of BLOG in Nepali diaspora?
    The fact is, we do not have a data to suggest us anything. Sure, monitoring the traffic on the blogs can provide some answers to those questions. However, I, for one, do not intend to nurture Holier-than-thou or rathar Greater-than-thou spirit. Not yet :-D. When blogs actually reach 1/10 penetration of the established/traditional media, YOU BET !!!. But, not quite yet.
    Until then, I am quite satisfied in my cozy little corner, spilling my guts out…anonymously !
    -Saral Nepal
    Sojho Kura

  5. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Nepal: Blogs and MSM

  6. infidel on 2/27/2007 at 3:12 am said:

    Please sign this petition to free the Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer from the brutal regime of Hosni Mubarak and the Muslim fundamentalists in Egypt. Support the freedom of speech, support the voice of Kareem .

    http://www.petitiononline.com/KAmer/petition.html

  7. Personally I followed mysansar.com alot during the kings rule. Blogging still is in grassroot level in Nepal but it already serves a huge proportion of information sharing. When I google for the information that I require, mostly it links me to some blog, that is quite an achievement already.

  8. i think that the slogan of this very blog “Nepalis are blogging. Are you reading?” ironically justifies what the role of online media in Nepal is can could have been. Its not just about the blogging culture, but also the reading culture that matters.

    Personally i ain’t too fond talking about politics in general, but having said that u can’t underestimate the blogs that helped raise awareness during the “King’s Age”, like blog.com.np, radiofree.blogspot.com or samudaya.org. Or even the emails sent out for awareness like the ones about king’s property contribute to online media.

    But ironically people in the villages, or away from the centers, who ought to be knowing more of all these, in order to rise, have very little access to all the media, let alone online media. So rather than going after each other we MUST help each other out in all possible ways we can. Especially now that we have more liberty than ever before.

    PEACE ON!

  9. While I agree that people used to go to merosansar and UWB during the emergency period, I would disagree with the claim “whoever Nepali I visit there had either UWB! or Mero Sansar as their homepage on the browser.”

    First of all, you might have met too few nepalese out there to have made the claim.
    Second, there is logical fallacy out here. You cannot meet a couple of people there and make a claim that online blogging had been all too powerful. It is just like going to some parts of mao-influenced Rolpa and taking polls on whether Prachanda should be the president of Nepal and claiming that all the people favor it.

    In any case, I agree that online media was important during the emergency period specially for the people who lived outside the country. However, most of the people I have met-in hundreds-still go to ekantipur or nepalnews for information.

    It is one thing to cite the importance of blogging and quite another to make fallacious claims.

  10. Dreamnepal,

    Thank you for your comments. About the fallacy in my logic, I didn’t want to say that blogs were all too powerful by mentioning the incident of Singapore. In fact, that’s why I added ‘whom I visited’. I just wanted to say that blogs were means of the fresh news during that time.

  11. Interesting comments.. :D

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