Nepali Times
The medium is message

No media can survive if it doesn't respect the sensibilities of consumers. Foreign-owned media in Nepal, therefore, can't be un-Nepali. If foreign media investment is so important, why is the Nepal Media Society the only one so concerned? It's a clear case of protecting their business. I only wish they did it in a more dignified way, not by insulting the intelligence of readers as Ashutosh Tiwari says in his column ('Media is the message', #182). The real issue behind the bogey of nationalism seems to be the media's own insecurity about competition. From a business point of view, it seems highly unlikely that a private organisation like the APCA/Times of India Group would be motivated to invest in Nepal by anything else other than pure business interest. They thrive in giving what consumers want, not what they want. I am intrigued by what a little competition does for consumers: when I get quality at a price that is unbelievable, I'm willing to live with foreign direct investment in the media.

Rajesh Shrestha,

. An ironic twist to the newspaper price war is that now it has reversed-at least in Narayanghat. Last week while travelling on the Kathmandu-bound bus from the Sunauli border, news vendors there were peddling copies of The Kathmandu Post with the Rs 1.50 price scratched out and replaced by Rs100 for unsuspecting tourists. I realise there isn't much profit on one and a half rupees and 50 paisa coins are not in circulation here, as in India. But when I offered a two rupee note and told the boy to keep the change, the cheeky kid refused and demanded Rs 100! When I angrily dismissed the kid and his pricey paper, another foreigner in the back of the bus paid Rs 10. It looks like our papers may have slashed prices, but here in Narayanghat it is more expensive than the International Herald Tribune. As you say in your editorial ('Media typhoons', #182) the real tragedy is that instead of simply competing in the marketplace, the two English dailies have begun viciously attacking each other editorially. Ashutosh Tiwari ('Media is the message', #182) left out the falling Rising Nepal from his discussion. One wonders what is the need for the taxpayers to subsidise a mouthpiece for the government?

Daniel Haber,

. It is disgusting that even a journalist of CK Lal's stature is taking the side of Indian investors in media ('Battle for mediacrity', #182). Everybody knows that APCA is Indian. We Nepalis are capable of running our own parliament, our own government and our own judiciary. Why can't we run our own media? We do not need Indians to edit and publish our newspapers. Lal and Nepali Times should support the cause of patriotic Nepali newspapers.

Shankar Padhye,

. Nepali Times (#182) has three columnists attacking the campaign by the Nepal Media Society against foreign investment in media, plus an editorial. All accuse the anti-foreign media newspapers for being unprofessional. But how is it professional to have a one-sided portrayal of this serious debate on an issue of such national importance? Isn't it time to practice what you preach?

Name withheld on request,

. Thanks to CK Lal, Ashutosh Tiwari and Yubaraj Ghimire (#182) for exposing the irrational and irresponsible behaviour of the so-called 'nationalistic' media who are relying on extreme xenophobia to counter what is essentially a battle for the Nepali media market. Yes, The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post have used back-channels to funnel money in Nepal. Everyone knows it, and that is why they will never succeed in Nepal because they are tainted by Indian ownership. Instead of letting them die a natural death, our own newspapers tried to exhort patriotism by using an old story on Lumbini. This controversy has exposed both Indian and Nepali-owned newspapers. The casualty has been Nepal's media industry.

Saroj K Shakya,

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)