Electronic Transaction Act #Clause47 & Journalism

On Monday, 30 September, news came through that yet another journalist has been arrested under Clause 47 of Electronic Transaction Act 2008. Dinesh Acharya, editor-in-chief of Share Bazaar Weekly, was arrested as a case against him was filed by Nirvana Chaudhary, a heir of Chaudhary Group of industries and son of Nepal’s only Forbes billionaire.

At the Kathmandu District Court, where he was to be brought that day, I saw police bringing in people handcuffed together. A thought of a journalist being handcuffed alongside those accused on cases of drugs and violence horrified me for a few seconds. But Acharya was not among those dozen who were brought in an open truck. A police van later brought him – handcuffed but alone and in a better way.

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How Kathmandu Post went online? – II

In this part of the History of Online Media in Nepal Series, I present the news that was published in the front page of the The Kathmandu Post to announce the newspaper being available online. The Kathmandu Post was put online from September 1, 1995 but the announcement was only made on September 8’s edition of the newspaper through a front page news.

Also, the small notification on The Nepal Digest by Rajendra Shrestha to announce the beta release of the Kathmandu Post on September 4, 1995 and an advertisement published in The Kathmandu Post on September 9 and 11 announcing the feat of being ‘the first Asian daily to be available free of cost on Internet.


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Nepal’s first online editor

In this another part of the History of Online Media in Nepal Series, I present a page (copied and pasted) from history.

When The Kathmandu Post went online on September 7, 1995, it has a link called “General Info”.

The Kathmandu Post

This is the text of what contained in the page that was linked (the text is however taken from December, 1996 archive after it moved to Mercantile’s server from Rajendra Shrestha’s college webspace):

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How Kathmandu Post went online? – I

In this part of the History of Online Media in Nepal Series, I present an email interview with the man who made it possible for The Kathmandu Post to become first South Asian newspaper to have online presence.

When I was trying to write a brief history of online media in Nepal for my blog, I tried to find out the exact date when The Kathmandu Post went online. There was claims that it’s the first South Asian publication to have online presence but I could not find the exact date so I looked the archive of Kantipur Publications and found a front-page news published to announce it.

It was September 1, 1995 (edited on September 5, 2013 after finding out that The Kathmandu Post started uploading on September 1, 1995 but only announced it on September 7, 1995). The Kathmandu Post news said it went online on the University of Illinois website (http://www.cen.uiuc.edu/~rshresth/ktmpost/news-home.html) as a result of joint effort of Mercantile Communications, the publication and Rajendra Shrestha.

Rajnedra ShresthaThe first question that stuck me was who is Rajendra Shrestha and how was he helping. I found out that he was an engineering student who uploaded the news on his personal page provided by the University of Illinois.

After some hard work, I finally found him and did an email interview with him for reference. I never used much of this in any of my researches, so I’m presenting it here:

Are you the Rajendra Shrestha who helped in 1995 to upload The Kathmandu Post on web?

Yes, that was me. I created the first “Nepal Home Page” back in 1994 just after Mosaic (first web browser) was released. Soon thereafter, I put The Kathmandu Post in my web site – this was when there was email access in Kathmandu but they didn’t have the infrastructure yet to host their web site.

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Online Media in Nepal: Short History

(This is a very short history of online media/journalism including that of Nepal that I had prepared a few years ago for my term paper. Updated with beginning of internet in Nepal on June 28.)

Internet is relatively new media. It was only in the late 80s and early 90s that the World Wide Web (WWW) emerged and started influencing the way people live. Journalism was not left behind. The early use of internet was for acquiring information and using computer to improve reporting, but by the half of the 90s, the newspapers were already on the internet serving the people worldwide.

Early precursors of the online journalism are believed to be teletext and videotext, introduced and used during 70s and 80s but never took off. In 1978, Bulletin Board System (BBS), information and emails sharing method by direct connection between computers, began. In 1982, StarText, the first newspaper intended to deliver only to computers via videotext was established. In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee created the internet. His invention changed the scenario as the WWW offered greater capacity, flexibility, immediacy, permanence and interactivity.

Chicago Tribune of USA began its online venture, the Chicago Online, in 1992. This is the considered the first online media. The first proper news site was put on the internet as early as in 1993 when the The News & Observer in North Carolina was put on the internet through bulletin board system (BBS). After the first internet browser, Mosaic was launched in 1994, it went online as Nando Times. The pioneering site, the Nando Times pages were discontinued May 27, 2003. On January 19, 1995, the first newspaper to regularly publish on the Web, the Palo Alto Weekly in California, begins twice-weekly postings of its full content.

Mercantile Office Systems began the commercial email system in June 1994 and established a separate entity Mercantile Communications for similar services. Before that Nepal Academy for Science and Technology (NAST) and Nepal Forum for Environmental Journalists had used email services as trials. Early services were used by dialing ISD numbers in India for the connection.

On July 15, 1995 Mercantile started providing full online access operating via a lease line through Nepal Telecom with it’s backbone in Singapore. By the end of 1995, Mercantile had approximately 150 subscribers – most of them being the International Non-Governmental Organizations in Kathmandu.

WorldLink began internet services as around same time with duplex dial-up lines that dials in USA four times a day. It had around 60 subscribers by January 1996.

Nepalese in US began the publication of first online media on Oct 23, 1993 – The Nepal Digest. This continued for 449 issues and closed before it resumed publication again in 2003. On September 1, 1995 (edited on September 5, 2013 after finding out that The Kathmandu Post started uploading on September 1, 1995 but only announced it on September 7, 1995) The Kathmandu Post went online on the University of Illinois website. It was joint effort of Mercantile Communications, the publication and Rajendra Shrestha, an engineering student who uploaded the news on his personal page provided by the university.

Himal Media started archiving it’s publication, Himal South Asia, in it’s own website himalsouthasia.com in 1997.

Mercantile established South-Asia.com in 1998 when it archived seven daily and weekly newspapers. The site however only gave the digital version of the printed publications. In 1999, it moved to NepalNews.com paving ways for more newspapers to put up their content on the cyberspace and the company also began serving it’s own news collected by the reporters it employed for the news portal.

Kantipur Publications established KantipurOnline.com on April 13, 2000. At initial phase, KantipurOnline.com employed reporters for news reporting. The site not only uploaded the digital version of its publications but also has their original contents with a few reporters working for it.

On December 15, 2002 Kamana Group of Publications began newsofnepal.com. Lately all broadsheet dailies along with weeklies and smaller media are available online.

Talking about weblog or blog, the first blogsite of Nepal, United We Blog, was established on October 1, 2004. The number of blog sites is also increasing rapidly because one can start it free of cost and without much of technical knowledge.

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