Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba met the Indian Chief of Army Staff General S Padmanabhan at Singha Darbar on Thursday, 16 May. Nepal Television covered the event on its 18:30 news bulletin with visuals of Prime Minister Deuba shaking hands and sitting down for talks with General Padmanabhan.
The meeting, and the issues discussed were what we generally anticipate when top-ranking officials from two countries meet. But what really surprised and pained me is the source of the information that our national broadcaster had to rely on. It was clear that while the government-owned Nepal Television shot the visuals at Singha Darbar (where NTV is also located), its source of information was the Indian Embassy in Lainchaur.
NTV had to rely on the press statement issued by the Indian Embassy to learn that PM Deuba had thanked India for providing weapons and other military hardware. I am not sure about how other fellow viewers found it, but I was tormented and distressed.
I feel that this incident concerns every Nepali. We must know what could have really happened at Singha Darbar that day, what the employees in the press department and all the prime minister's advisers at the PMO might have been doing. What might have kept the Defence Ministry busy that day? Issuing long statements about the deaths in everyday clashes between the Maoists and the security forces? What could have prevented the headquarters of the Royal Nepal Army from acknowledging an important meeting attended by the Chief of Army Staff himself? It seems that none of our government offices documented the meeting. ...If Singha Darbar had provided it with information, NTV might not have had to rely on material produced by a foreign embassy.
The government should learn from its mistakes. Otherwise it could just appoint the Indian Embassy to prepare all its publicity materials, and gradually hand over total governance too. Why bother about protecting our sovereignty?