KATHMANDU – Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Rekha Sharma, has said despite the pressing need to focus on agenda of development and prosperity, the nation is still entangled in political matters.
Speaking at the 58th-anniversary celebrations of ‘The Rising Nepal,’ an English national broadsheet of the Gorkhapatra Corporation, today, the Minister underlined the importance of prioritizing development and prosperity issues over political ones.
“We are still gripped by political matters, and it’s time for political parties and related organizations to realize this,” she said, highlighting the need of moving ahead based on the changes brought about by IT development and increased social awareness.
According to her, it is also the role of media in conveying citizen’s needs and aspirations, grievances with the government and informing the citizens of government activities.” It is necessary to prove it false that State-owned media are government mouthpiece.”
She urged media to amplify people’s voices, contributing to the increase in social awareness. The Minister took time to say that State-owned media, particularly print media, would find challenges to compete in this digital-era if their contents are not strengthened, advising media falling into this category to focus on production of specialized contents. Minister Sharma expressed the view that print media can survive by ensuring sectoral specialized and leading contents.
In view of rapid youth migration under various contexts, she said media are expected to discourage the trend and raise hopes for doing something within the country itself. She advised media to cover issues about unsafe foreign migration and employment, and its consequences.
Communications and Information Technology Secretary, Krishna Bahadur Raut, said the Gorakhapatra Corporation should be able to progress ahead as a capable public corporation. He also stressed on paying attention to production of quality news, enhancing the capacity of journalists working in the Corporation’s various publications.
“The Rising Nepal has a crucial role to establish the true understanding and narrative about Nepal in the international arena. Issues as the economic and social topics within the country, the issues that Nepal has to raise as a least developed country, climate change issues and the digital divide issue, should be raised in the upcoming days,” Secretary Raut said.
Executive Chairman of Gorakhapatra Sansthan, Bishnu Prasad Subedi opined that the growing use of social sites in recent times has added to the challenge to journalism. “We have not been able to make the general public understand what journalism is and who the journalists are. We are weak in terms of media literacy regarding as to how to seek true information. This is a matter of challenge for us,” Chair Subedi added.
He also urged the government for support, saying the Gorakhapatra Corporation is very weak in terms of infrastructures. “The physical infrastructure of the Corporation that has been serving the government and doing a favour to it is not good. The Corporation’s building located at Bhugolpark was marked as ‘risky’ after the 2015 earthquake, but the employees are compelled to work from this old building. I request the government to provide assistance for reconstruction of the Corporation’s building,” the Sansthan Chair pleaded.
He also informed that the income from advertisements and sale of the Corporation’s publications have increased in the recent years. According to him, The Rising Nepal, the first broadsheet English national daily of Nepal, remains as prestigious school of English language journalism and it has been playing a significant role to spread Nepal’s culture throughout the world.
Corporation’s General Manager Lal Bahadur Airee said Gorakhapatra and The Rising Nepal dailies were established amidst special political condition and these publications have their unique style and objective.
Stating that the dimensions and techniques of journalism are changing in recent times, he underscored on timely improvements in our journalism as well. “It is necessary to change in our understanding of journalism as it is only giving information. A situation is coming in which journalism itself might not be there if we fail to take cognizance of what citizens want. We will be in for a challenge if we fail to catch up with the changing dimension of journalism,” General Manager Airee said.
In his view, the print medium is on decline at present as the digital technology advances and the digital media go on expanding.