Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Don’t fear the press


Speaking at a meeting on national press freedom, Maoist chairman Prachanda accused feudal and imperialistic elements of operating under the fa?ade of a free press. At the meeting organised by the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, Prachanda also accused the big media houses of playing a game to prevent the Maoists coming to power, and of unnecessarily exaggerating small weaknesses.

Because of this campaign against the Maoists, it is becoming difficult for them to protect themselves, says Prachanda. But we understand this is just his one-sided opinion. His comments clearly show there is but a tenuous relationship between the Maoists and the press.

The press doesn't create news. It just informs the people of political and social events. The press cannot cater to just one party or one individual. It is the voice of the voiceless. Parties take a single idea and go to the people, but the press takes up all the ideas and goes among the people.

Why does the Maoist leadership think such negative thoughts about the press? Can they hide their wrongdoings by blaming the press? Even after the comprehensive peace accord and after joining the government, the Maoists still have not stopped talking about being a separate power. Not going to the CA polls, going back to the jungle, collecting forceful donations, beating up innocents, abducting people, attacking the free press and taking over legal businesses: all these are activities they assured the people they would not do. Maoist involvement can be seen in all of these negative activities.

After facing opposition on all sides, they have got away with a little self-criticism and have turned everything into a political game. It won't be the press that ends the Maoists, it will be their own activities.

Chairman Prachanda should keep in mind that wrongs cannot be righted by attacking the press. The reason the people do not trust the Maoists is because of their own activities and the things they have said. If the Maoists were to improve, then there is no reason why the press would not praise them.

But the danger and fear that has permeated the people is not an issue that can be cast aside so easily. Even during the April Uprising and for democracy, the press acted fearlessly. The Maoists' intolerance of criticism will cost them dearly. The Maoists don't have to fear the press because of the ghosts in their past. They just need to understand that the press is on the side of truth and is against no one.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)