Nepali Times Asian Paints
Under My Hat
Feel free to throw up on the Fourth Estate


We must mark World Press Freedom Day on 3 May this year in Nepal by dispelling the malicious rumour doing the rounds that we in the Fourth Estate aren't free to be sycophantic, hypocritical and unscrupulous liars anymore. As we can see for ourselves this is not the case, all of these aforementioned freedoms are intact.

Anyone with an over-fertile imagination will have noticed that there are no restrictions at all. We members of the media sector have never been freer to lick ass or be kicked in the ass. It's not for nothing that we are proud to call ourselves members of the world's second-oldest profession.

Nevertheless, we mustn't rest on our laurels, we shouldn't take the freedoms we enjoy for granted as we go out of our way to kowtow even though we were only asked to curtsy. May Third therefore is a perfect opportunity for us in the media to take stock of our good fortune to be where we are. (Message from the State Law and Order Council on the Auspicious Occasion of World Press Freedom Day: The following content has been vetted for veracity and has been found to be fit for wide dissemination but the Council takes no legal responsibility if consumers don't have the intestinal fortitude to read it without throwing up. Signature and Chop.) So, without beating around the bushes let's proceed to count our blessings from one to 10:

1 There are absolutely no curbs on vowel movements in the state-controlled media which is free to report at great length on all official pronunciations.

2 No one is stopping anyone from singing hosannas at the top of their voices.

3 We can't help it if newspapermen insist on ignoring repeated warnings not to report that they have been repeatedly warned not to undermine the morality of those calling the shots.

4 We don't blame messengers anymore. We arrest them.

5 Good thing that more than 65 percent of Nepalis can't read or write otherwise the public may actually believe what we are saying.

6 The officials' media is adding supplementary pages to accommodate vast quantities of backlogged news on new arrests this week that couldn't be printed because of headline-grabbing events from the Afro-Asian Summit.

7 As a matter of public service, Radio Nepal says it will continue blocking the first 15 minutes of BBC World Service news on 103 FM because it wants to "spare listeners the boredom of having to listen to the same headlines on the hour every hour and replace it with a musical interlude".

8 It's not true that Nepal's media is the least free in Asia. That is a gross national insult to our friendly country, North Korea.

9 The government denies in strongest terms the canard that news is not allowed on FM. Underground stations are allowed to broadcast news unhindered.

10 Humour is now so rife in the media that it has thankfully thrown all insufferable satirists, including this one, out of business.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)