Nepali Times Asian Paints
Editorial
No democracy without information, no information without democracy.


The street violence that followed the royal tragedy were driven by three factors: spontaneous shock and anger, an official information blackout, and political forces inciting violence. A post-mortem of this crisis yields one important lesson: the reason it is so difficult to convince citizens about the truth is that official sources of information have lost all credibility. Officialdom squandered its integrity because when it did come out to tell the public what had happened, it lied. Not once, not twice, but repeatedly. They lied to correct their previous lies. Their silence was a lie.

Our information machines are governed by Panchayat-era mandarins who believe in treating the public's right to information with contempt, and insulting their intelligence and common sense with outdated mourning rituals of requiem music and news blackout for 13 days. This is why it was so easy for extremists who infiltrated the crowds to inflame passions. The people were ready to believe anything, but the truth. And putting journalists in jail does not help. In the marketplace of ideas, it is much more clever to win the people over with information that is more credible, accurate and independent than what the other side is saying.

Let us be clear about it: democracy and free press must safeguard each other. You can't have one by undermining the other.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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