The Dark/black side of Setopati’s Journalism
I have not written a blog post for a long time. This alone, should be a reason to write. However, when I sit these days with pen and paper or rather laptop in front of me, I can hardly concentrate on anything.
It is not the lack of issues but myriad of issues on which continuous speech and writings are required, are breaking my concentration. With some difficulty and with a little fear of being labelled as "troll", I muster this courage to express my views today.
I am sure it sounds unpleasant to many. It may even sound regressive to some. But, my views are my views. Either you take it or leave it, it is up to you.
Nepali Blogs and twitter Timelines are never boring places. They always have subjects to write, discuss, debate, and deliberate. There are different people with different views. There are some with politically superior views, as per their own assessments. The self-claimed superiority leads them towards a race of being more progressives, more liberal. In this race, the process of blaming others (who do not agree with you) becomes an ordinary daily chore those trolls (who, by the way, display their full name in twitter).
By disclosing their full names, they think they have the birth right to be considered as vanguard of democracy and with all those newly conceived and used words: loktantrawadi, sanghiyatabadi, pahichanwadi etc. They behave as if they are the pundits to name others with all sorts of adjectives (commonly and collectively referred as regressive) but simultaneously, play a victim card if dissenting voices are shared by others.
There are many who get a shelter and protection of progressives by calling themselves victims; by pointing a finger to "hill caste bahuns" and people of "hill caste bahuns" by default, become oppressors, regressive, aloktantrawadi, sanghiyata-birodhi, pahichan-birodhi etc.
This is nothing new and a part of daily discourse in Nepal. I do not expect it to stop at any time soon unless the buccaneering vanguard of "pahichanwadi" do not come to terms with sanity and rationality.
This blog is a process to address (or rather talk on) some of the issues that has kept the twitter feed abuzz during the past few days.
1. The self-proclaimed messiah CK Lal and dwindling role of Setopati in strengthening Journalism
There are many Parties in Nepal. This could be seen from recent election in Nepal and there are many "Patis" as well. This is a recent phenomenon and has by now, substantially gained a ground. You must be thinking what can be a co-relation between these Parties and Patis.
It is simple. Some Patis favour some Parties and others favour others. To make it simpler, some Patis are like a mouthpiece of a particular political party. For example, we can see a very strong nexus between "Ratopati" and Maoists.
There are other Patis like Nilopati - having a strong bond with sex and carnal pleasure. There is Khabarpati - having a strong link with "news" apparently. In this crowd, the Setopati (www.setopati.com ) has established merely as another player offering some sorts of Khichadi. In terms of quality, all "Patis" are materially same. There is hardly any difference between "Nilopati" and "Setopati" (when compared with a quality in their respective fields of writings) and that has been a big let-down for the readers.
With experienced retirees on the Board, we expected "Setopati" to maintain an intellectual decency and honesty while reporting news and views but unfortunately, it could not rise even marginally above than all other "Patis".
Such latest dishonesty was galore when Setopati went to publish selected excerpts of CK Lal's book, CK Lal - a self-claimed messiah of marginalised. As rightly said by Ashutosh Tiwari, Mr Lal is a "big fish of a small pond".
It t is no secret that Lal does not mince a word to utter any nonsense against a "high hill caste" people.
Now, you may be wondering who these "high hill caste" people are! These are basically no one ordinarily, but only get prominence when they differ with views of Lal.
It is futile to reason with Lal and with his clique. His coterie would line up before him with folded hands (in Namaskar Mudra) as if Lal is a divine figure and starts giving gospel at every word he writes or utters.
Since Lal is a man beyond reason and rationality, "Setopati" found it every effective to use him as a force to attract some rowdy online visitors.
It is no surprise that Setopati was started with a much fanfare and at some point of time; it had big ambition to charge readers for reading its news. But, the dreams must have been faded away by now as there is hardly any news that can keep the readers engaged in their website.
The ploy of Setopati was always to present sensational news to increase its visitors. We can imagine the quality of journalism practiced by Setopati from its very beginning. The news reports were based on the Facebook and twitter status messages of leaders. In addition to these, there were virulent attacks on Lokman Singh when he was, at least, making an effort to catch the public servants involved in corruption.
The coherent virulent attack on the few political leaders and Lokman Singh Karki were the hallmark of their journalism. They could never travel beyond this shoddy benchmark. This standard has fallen to its nadir after the elections were over in Nepal. Setopati needed some sensational stuff to catapult itself on the timeline of twitter and CK Lal has been a good fodder to them.
On one hand, Setopati needed a helping hand and for a people like of CK Lal, what a blessing it has been. It came to our knowledge from that sensational Setopati article that CK Lal has written a book called "Mithila Manthan" which would have gone unnoticed but thanks to symbiotic relationship between Setopati and CK, it has managed to create some noise. I am sure Setopati and CK both are having a last laugh by attracting some visitors to the site and may be sale of few more copies of CK Book.
On this whole affair, many people have expressed their anguish on the CK's views whereas per Setopati, CK has stated that Nepali Language is created by British for the Army. I do not see any merits in CK's views but how we fool ourselves by trying to find some truths and merits in CK's views. CK has always expressed untrammelled, very coherent views based on factual inaccuracies and by distorting the historical facts. He has once again succeeded in doing so.
However, on this whole affair, Setopati (literal meaning in Nepali is “White Board”) has managed very successfully to blacken itself. It has resorted to test the emotional side of Nepalese who, forget their own differences among different communities, go to any extent to defend the nationalism - Nepali nationalism.
With a little bit of experiences on their side, Setopati fully knew its repercussions and knowingly, allowed the space to CK Lal. The explosives passages from the CK Lal’s book in Setopati has given a much needed boost to online presence of Setopati and to CK Lal’s unmerited book. This also gave ample opportunities to them who have always played a victim card and call others “troll”.
As an observer of rise of journalism in Nepal and looking at the freedom it enjoys to express, it is sad to see the demise of honest journalism at Setopati. The website should have actually published a review of the book by looking at all the views that Lal expresses and should have taken an individual editorial or collective editorial position whether they agree or to what extent. Rather than giving any complete picture to the readers, it has enjoyed by playing the tune of CK Lal and let the emotions flare up for no apparent journalistic gain.
What a black journalism it has been over the last few days!
(Without any reference to CK Lal, I will talk about the Nepali Language and its history in some other posts.)