It’s been days and I’ve not yet finished reading ”The 2010 Time 100”. It’s a famous annual assessment of Time magazine, but I’m barely going through 10 (or even less than) people a day. Most in the list are Americans. Loads of figures from our neighbouring India are selected for top 100s.
Since May 1st, Nepali TV channels have consumed much of my daytime: The ocean of protesting people in Kathmandu has been so charming.
Media shapes almost everything in this age. It could play a decisive role in some particular instances, such as: a movement or protest program.
The ongoing mass movement has benefited largely from the media. It seems, the movement is being carried out more lively on TV screen than in the streets. This is the first mass movement to enjoy the intense media coverage (esp. on TVs) as many private TV channels and FM radio stations have sprouted up in recent years. And, the movement has provided them ”a large feast” to feast upon relentlessly. Television set is no longer an elusive electronic wonder for Nepalis even with little income and the extensive and exclusive coverage (of the movement) by TV channels has redefined the movement and has probably helped vault it to a new height too.
Media (esp. FM stations) had played an important role in the April movement of 2062/63.
Maoists have been critical of the mainstream media and have also been charged with assaults against mediapersons, for instance, the murder of journalist Birendra Sah, vandalism at Himalmedia office etc. to name a few. I agree, most of Kathmandu-based media houses are invested by the elites and are generally considered biased against the Maoists. But, this time, these media — inadvertently but for the ultimate benefit of the movement — are paying big attention to the movement, covering the happenings throughout the day extensively. It could also be true that ”news-starved” gratuitous number of TV channels have found a ‘lucrative business’ in the movement.
Will Maoists give up their animosity towards the media esp. TV channels and think them as a ‘partner’? They can’t disregard their ‘contribution’ to the movement.
What about the new media? This movement is not going to parallel the so called ”Green movement” in Iran last year. During that movement, intense use of Twitter and Facebook had helped stoke the protest against the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the theocratic establishment. Eventually, that so called movement withered away and now it’s in comatose. It, I believe, was actually a campaign backed by the West and led by Mir Hussain Mousavi, former prime minister.
The role of new media is almost not noticeable, given the nascent number of netizens. However, we can’t deny it’s influence among Nepalis communities in abroad.