Future of news-on-papers

Will newspapers still be called newspapers if they are not printed on paper? Or will it simply be called something like online news site or news-in-hands or news onscreen?

It is kind of absurd in the Nepali context to think that newspapers are facing a big challenge from technological advancement in the digital form, especially at a time when newspapers are actually growing in numbers and overall circulation. According to an internationally-acclaimed prediction, Nepal is among the last nations from where newspapers would disappear, some 40 to 50 years from now.

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Don’t just clap

September 23, 1984: Nepal won the football gold in the First South Asian Games (SAG) defeating Bangladesh 4-2 in the final. Three years later, Nepal lost to India in the SAG final. In 1999, Nepal reached the final once again, this time against Bangladesh, who won the title in a much competitive match held in Kathmandu.

Fast forward to 2010. Nepal’s football campaign ended with the lone win against Bhutan in the 11th SAG. Nepal was not even considered a title contender during the games. Until a decade ago, Nepal’s football was as strong as that of any other team in the South Asian region.

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Thank you, too, Dias dai!

“We nearly beat Sri Lanka,” Roy Dias, Nepal’s long-time cricket coach told his wife Tharanga over the phone after the completion of the Asian Games 2010 match.

Tharanga was probably surprised, not only by the ability of Nepal’s team to put her country on the tight rope, but rather by the way her husband referred to Nepal as “we.” “We’re Sri Lankans!” she remarked.

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Paras Shah: Crown Prince to Prison?

Former crown prince of Nepal Paras Shah was ‘taken under control’ by police on charges of firing with an illegal bullet at a resort inside a national park late night and threatening a Bangladeshi of life. No matter what will the court decide, the series of incidents has a greater impact in Nepal’s political scenario as it symbolically indicates the ‘real’ end of the monarchic power and is also a step towards the no-tolerance towards criminal activities under political hood.

I believe that it was wrong for Paras Shah, 38, to threaten anyone with a pistol and fire a round in air regardless of the degree of provocation injected by the person on the other side. It was a crime for a commoner (Paras Shah declared himself similar to a commoner) to carry an unlicensed weapon, to carry weapon inside a national park and to threaten someone of life firing on air.

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Thoughts on Sotala

I didn’t knew noted anthropologist Dor Bahadur Bista had published a fiction in 1870s – even when Sotala, his novel, was released by Himal Books a couple of days ago, I thought it was an old manuscript published. But it turned out Sajha Publication had published Sotala in around 1876.

The 144-page novel is a fiction work where Bista, a radical thinker of his time, has intertwined his imagination with his ideas to frame a story that’s painted on the canvas of the social and historical aspects of Tibet-Nepal trade.

After finishing the novel in a few hours, here are my impressions that I wrote on the inside cover of the book:

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Focus on priority, continuity

Early 2007, National Sports Council (NSC) made a big fanfare announcing a long-term sports plan–Vision 2020. The plan talked about–among many other things–prioritizing sports under various headings and to promote events with more chances to succeed at international arenas. The ultimate aim of the plan was to develop sports in such a way that Nepal would win gold medals at Olympics.

Nepal´s performance at the 16th Asian Games in China, held a couple of months short before the plan reached its fourth year, showed no indication of things improving. Instead of progressing, it looked like our sports was sliding downwards. Ask any sports official and he will give you a dozen reasons why this is happening starting with lack of budget, training, exposure and, yes, of a long term vision for development of sports.

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Sporty Spirit: Focus on priority, continuity

Early 2007, National Sports Council (NSC) made a big fanfare announcing a long-term sports plan–Vision 2020. The plan talked about–among many other things–prioritizing sports under various headings and to promote events with more chances to succeed at international arenas. The ultimate aim of the plan was to develop sports in such a way that Nepal would win gold medals at Olympics.

Nepal´s performance at the 16th Asian Games in China, held a couple of months short before the plan reached its fourth year, showed no indication of things improving. Instead of progressing, it looked like our sports was sliding downwards. Ask any sports official and he will give you a dozen reasons why this is happening starting with lack of budget, training, exposure and, yes, of a long term vision for development of sports.

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Wikileaks: Transparency vs terror

Wikileaks, a website dedicated to leaking secret documents, is a subject of debate, both legal and journalistic, since it began publishing memos sent to and from US State Department and 274 US embassies around the world. The diplomatic documents, some classified as secret or confidential and many unclassified, do not reflect the official policies of the world’s most powerful country, however they represent the attitudes and opinions of American diplomats, which has put the US in an uncomfortable position.

The US tried its best to stop the publication since Wikileaks informed it about having such documents. When US issued a warning that publication of the memos could put lives in danger, Julian Assange – the website’s founder and public face – cleverly asked the US to categorically point to the memos that are sensitive. The US, which denied any communication and comments, tried to block the way through many means including forcing firms in their land to withdraw services that they were rendering to Wikileaks. Amazon withdrew hosting, EveryDNS withdrew domain name services (meaning that when somebody types wikileaks.org, the internet is unable to find the server computer where the site is stored) and popular financial transaction service provider PayPal dropped their accounts (which constrained the donation collection by the site).

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Talking citizen journalism at miniBarCamp

Equal Access Nepal, an INGO, organized the Kathmandu miniBarCamp yesterday as a part of its to-be-launched-project on media workers’ network and citizen journalism platform.

I was asked to recount my experience of blogging during the Royal Regime 2005/06 and talk on citizen journalism. Other speakers who participated include Saurav Dhakal (on his storycycle project), Sarun Maharjan (on Web 2.0 and social media) and Dipak Jung Hamal (on his research on practices of citizen journalism by Nepali televisions). There were few participants but the discussion turned out to be lively and I really enjoyed being there.

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Politics in Sports

There is a saying in Nepali sports fraternity: Rajniti ma khel ra khel ma rajniti le garera dubai chhetra bigriyo (Game in politics and politics in game have damaged both the sectors. Khel can mean either sports or a dirty game, in political sense).

This is a fact everybody in Nepali sports accepts. Minister for Youth and Sports Ganesh Tiwari Nepali is one of them. Reviewing Nepal´s failure in the Asian Games 2010, Minister Nepali declared ´politics is to be blamed for the sorry state of sports´. He went on: ´The sports bodies have become recruitment ground for political parties.´

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