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After The King's Take Over - Media And Democracy

After King take over-Media and Democracy

By Kamala Sarup

Information (reliable) are not easy to obtain in Nepal. Speculations, and propaganda seems to be at high decibel. So frankly I do no quite know what to believe. But The FM radios in Kathmandu and in the districts have been ordered to not broadcasts any news. So now they only provide entertainment. A minister is reported to have told that in no country do FMs have the license to broadcasts news. Is this true or false, I do not know.

I do not know whether the Maoist, underground FMs have been closed. Some 100,000 media persons are said to be idle now, specially those posted in the districts and who were sending in news. Though some relaxation have been discerned, the media sources and media persons are reported as being screened primarily for Maoist infiltrators, and those engaged in disinformation. But those media and media persons of the agitating parties maybe under scrutiny". Sociologist and Freelance Consultant working with various NGOs Dr. Raman Raj Misras said:

Cautious and gradual relaxation is occurring, as with telecommunication. (The Maoists had utilized the mobile phone to their advantage. Some mobile phones have started operation after screening, most have not.). And here it is expected with time the media will be functioning as before.

I am in no position to tell you what the immediate role of the media "should" be. Further, I fail to understand which media you are referring to, the Maoist media, the other partisan media, or other types of media? Well, they are taking the role that they have decided for themselves. They need no prescription. But just because you asked, I would repeat what I had said before, that is if media could just promote consensus, we maybe blessed with some pragmatic direction and condition for peace in this country. But this is just my wishful thinking. Is it not?" Dr. Misras argued.

We have questions the action of 1st September the cause or the consequence of conflict? Or is it not just a part of the conflict? Just another maneuver like the attempt by NC to reinstitute the expired parliament, like the attempt to have all party government sans elections of the UML, like the previous two attempts at dialogue, like the reluctance of the over-ground parties even to try to attempt to facilitate and conduct elections, like the demand for elected constitutional assembly? By the way, I have heard of constitutional assemblies of other countries, but I have never heard of the "ELECTED" constitutional assemblies (except as a slogan, now in Nepal), have you? Is this February action the consequence of the lack of consensus between and within the over-ground parties?

Is this latest action the consequence of ever increasing areas of operation of the Maoists and non-seriousness or incapacity of any other forces to address the Maoist problem ? When the over-ground forces are in disarray and in disagreement and in conflict with each other, will that motivate the Maoists to intensify conflict or to give-up the use of arms? And just an insinuation, without heed to future consequence, crises and conflicts, would not this current conflict and current crisis simply disappear, if only all of us agree to live in communes under the "new democracy or people's democracy of the Prachanda System" and as part of the Compact Revolutionary Zone, together with Bihar, Jharkhand and Andra Pradesh? Dr.Misras further said.

We must be particularly grateful to the NRNs for their concern, focused only in our residential locations and only at this time in February,2005 and not for those of us who have been in Maoist controlled areas since 1996. This pray is not to insinuate "democratic favoritism" of the NRNs to the lucky us in the relatively secure locations. Presumably, the advocates of democracy have by the grace of God known all along that things like "freedom of speed", freedom to assemble, freedom to pursue ones economic occupations, freedom to live, freedom from any types of intimidation and coercion etc etc had never been deprived in those Maoist controlled areas since 1996, so that they did not have to wine and wail like now.

We are grateful to them for discerning that this mystical "democracy" only in the secure locations has suddenly been endangered from February 2005, by only those very institutions that have hitherto provided relative security and protection to us. Presumably if we could just get rid of our protectors, we would surely enjoy the democracy like those of us have enjoyed it since 1996 in the remote districts. This will surely bring peace of mind to those wailing and wining for love of "locational democracy" since this February.

We are also grateful to the NRNs for making us aware that demands for democracy should be made only from those who are taking decisions to address our crises and not of course from those who have been leading us into confrontation since 1996 as well as those who are finding new ways and means for yet more confrontations and instability, all in the name of democracy of course !!.

Dr. Misras further argued:

As for the like us, who have to suffer the consequences of reality of Nepal, we do not know what this "present political crisis" that you allude to is. We have been in crisis since 1993 and more intensely so since 1996.We know that a new type of decisions have been taken. We are still trying to figure out what it means to us, out lives, our security, and our unprecedented economic uncertainty. This new decision, we believe is a reaction to and an attempt to address the CRISES that we have been facing since a decade. The series of crises that some have described as leading Nepal towards "becoming a failed state". Uncertainty prevails. It is too early to make any judgment. We still have to wait for likely trend that maybe discernable after some time.

We are more concerned with results and how it affects our lives our securities and our future. One has to wait some time yet, to see the type of results that the February decision brings. But if the wishes, hopes, wants and the current February furor of the NRNs is any indication of actual reality, we may add yet another series and types of confrontation, that presumably will be according to the "love of Nepal" displayed by our NRNs and this no doubt will make us free from worry and dejection, simply because, even if we are not killed, we will eventually just get used to our agonies. He said.

What "peace process"? Is there any peace process going on, that we in Nepal are unaware of ? If there were, there would have been grounds for hope, wouldn't it be? And Negotiations with the Maoists? I believe I had given my opinion in the article titled "Hearts overriding minds." published in the People's Review. Just to reiterate, negotiations depends on the desire of those who started the conflict and only secondly on those who are opposing them. Further negotiations must include, The International Revolutionary Movement (RIM), as well as CCOMPOSA ( South Asian Maoist Organization) to which our Maoists belong. And what maybe the things to negotiate about? Terms of surrender by the State or the Maoists?

Hypothetically speaking, even if negotiations were possible between the State and The Maoist, will it be acceptable to other parties and of course, I almost forgot, the NRNs ? Do the other parties have any pragmatic points or issues or commitments or stands for "negotiations" with both the State and the Maoists? What are they going to give to the Maoists or the State and what are they willing to take? Have they made any approach or even contacts with the Maoist to explore the possibility of this "Negotiations"? And if they have, then have they granted the "freedom of information" to the people of Nepal and the world at large?

Many of us who have lost all hope have, as you well know already, lost sanity and many have committed suicide. Rate of such incidents have risen since 1996 in Nepal. Hope is the only thing we may have to sustain us. But those high and mighty who just demand, keep saying "should" "must" and display their unique wisdom by doing nothing concrete, but only blame others, do contribute in depriving even the little hope of those who have been suffering the consequences of conflict. Yet lets keep hoping that things will be better. That is what the people I have met in Nepal are doing, now. Dr. Raman Raj Misras argued.

After King's take over the government has also announced various reform measures to end all forms of inequalities, discriminations and exploitations. The government would also work to reconstruct the infrastructure destroyed by the Maoists and to rehabilitate the victims of the Maoist insurgency.

Like B R Giri said "Democracy, whatever it means, is essential in the long run, but without peace, it cannot flourish for the benefit of majority of Nepalese. And peace is impossible without a stable government, who is committed to tackle the unimaginable mess hoarded in the last 15 years. Now, all eyes are on King Gyanendra, who has taken the biggest gamble. Success is the only option he has got. We shall wait and see whether he will accomplish his commitments in the next three years. For now, even when it is hard to digest partyless rule, King Gyanendra led government's target to fight Maoist atrocities, and to bring the corrupt leaders to justice immediately is appreciable".


(Kamala Sarup is editor to )

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