Media vs Indian Embassy: What’s wrong?

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!

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Six weeks in Oslo

A friend asked me why I haven’t written a blog on my six weeks in Oslo. I pondered on the questions… there was no answer.

Sometimes words just do not come to you and six weeks in Oslo where I attended the International Summer School 2010 at University of Oslo was such an experience that I could not put down in words and do justice to it.

* * *

“What’s ISS for you?” One of my hundreds of friend asked me on camera.

“ISS is six-week of my life that I am never going to forget!” And, they decided to put this small interview just before the end of an eight-minute movie.

It was indeed so. In those six weeks, I met hundreds of friends from all countries imaginable – and talked to them. I met the world at a place.

They not only helped me understand the world, but also filled in me the enthusiasm to work more; work better; study more and help to make the world better.

Some of the friends, I am never going to forget – for their talent, love and compassion!

* * *

The ISS Media Studies 2010 with course leaders!

“What’s best part of Media Studies group?” Our assistant course leader asked me during a lunch. (Yes, our teachers did occasionally join us in breakfast, lunch, drinks and dances – and late night gossips!)

“Friends… like that of teenage,” I told her that once I started my professional career, befriending people for true friendship without jealousy and with the ownership of teenage friends had become very hard.

In my group of 15 classmates, it was friendship that mattered most. There were of course ‘close friends’, ‘good friends’ and ‘friends’ but the way we could talk freely to each other, sometime even making joke of each other, and share a few light moments together was just wonderful!

* * *

In Oslo, we were far and foremost two things – teenagers and tourists!

Teenagers because we attended classes; completed assignments; went out in evenings and nights; and most important were free from any life pressure. Also because we talked how boring the lectures sometimes are and wondered around the city for nothing.

Tourists because we had such a busy schedule given by ISS in the early weeks that we felt like they are not going to give us time even for shopping. They were guided tours including that of Oslo city – all of which no one could attend, and there were an excursion tour (I went to Telemark – that was the only one left for me when I went to register) where we were made to feel like tourists rather than students.

* * *

And, of course, we were also made students.

At ISS, not only did I attend four-hour-long lectures every weekdays but also asked to do assignments that needed visits to library.

Looking at Media Studies schedule which had the last week free for take-home exams, we had thought ‘yes, here we have free time’. But it turned out that nobody from our class was seen around for long time during the week because they all were busy in the 15-page essay. It turned out to be the most time consuming part of our stay; and everyone sighed long and smiled at each other after the deadline passed.

* * *

I have no words to explain, but it was wonderful experience, just perfect!

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