Here in Nepal, we are quite famous for using the international trends and mostly inherit the bad aspects of them. This has been going on since we connected to the external world through the Internet. With the internet booming, the young have no restriction to learn or indulge in their interests. However, instead of good traits, they are inherently attracted to and replicate useless or harmful habits.
News media has not been far from this trend. There are now dozens of news channels regurgitating news, but with the intention of showing advertisements to the viewers. While the news, interviews, discussions repeat even reading the news list is sponsored. The marque underneath programs are advertisements, even set background for some programs are ads. It is despicable business practice hiding behind the news media façade.
It is understandable that they need the money to operate. However, it is blatantly obvious that business profit is one of their main agenda. For many news channels, program schedules are anything but interesting. The expert analysis, interviews, field report, have been running for years, but it is hard to see any effect on the nation’s growth. They garner the interest of people for a few days. However, without proper follow ups they do not hold up any real value. Moreover, with the current state of Nepal, there are many places to churn up a special report for news channels.
Having political representatives have zero repercussions as the politicians are versed in dominating in debates with big words. They are not held responsible for anything they misused for at the end. The interviewer blasts arrogant questions but faces a wall of vague answers without taking any responsibility. Watching these can be pretty intense, but holds no real value in their future actions. It would be kind of interesting if people were able to call. With the questions pre-recorded before being asked to the politician, they could avoid confrontations and foul language. They are doing the bare minimum to be considered a news medium and staying relevant.
The other distressing aspect I think is the inability to encourage the youths. It is safe to say that the adults are the majority who watch the news than the young generation. However, these news channels could prepare exciting programs to entice the youths with informational, educational content. We just see news of a never-ending cat and mouse game of politics and their agendas. Moreover, with our political conditions, they will have news about how the government and politicians “fail to pursue progress and are determined to do it at the next meeting”. This is possibly what sums up news for the last decade.
With advertisement running rampant on news, you have to wonder if they will report any wrongdoing from their advertisement partners. With news being important time pass of people, advertisers sure get their worth but how does it reflect when looking into their sponsors.
It is not all bad; they are at least continuing to relaying the relevant news with a few extras. A few excellent programs like Sajha Sawal by BBC are more appropriate and encouraging discussion between people and local representatives. This program has revelations about the current situation and state of the country and also first-hand question answer session with the representatives.
The good aspect of these news channels is they are not biased towards a party, or it seems. They appear to be quite satisfied with just conveying the political turmoil that is Nepal without taking sides. This is not including the government-controlled channels.
So what are your thoughts on this subject? News media are required to be neutral and relay information but does that mean they can get a free pass on their responsibility or representing the people’s voice or blatantly use the media space for more profits.