Monday, December 19, 2011

Nepali Film Industry - Past and Present

Nepal does not have a very long film history, but the industry has its own place in the cultural heritage of the country. Most Nepali films use Bollywood-style songs and narrative, and are shot on 16-millimeter film. In film industry parlance, Kathmandu, the capital and center of the Nepali-language film industry, is called Kollywood (or Kaliwood as an alternate spelling) within Nepal (not to be confused with India's Tamil-language film industry, Kollywood, based in Chennai).

The making of Nepali films is said to have begun with D. B. Pariyar's Satya Harishchandra, which was the first Nepali language film to be shot. It was produced from Kolkata, India, and was released on September 14, 1951. Aama was the first film produced in Nepal, and was released on October 7, 1964. It was produced by the Information Department of His Majesty's Government of Nepal (now Government of Nepal), directed by Hira Singh Khatri and the lead actors were Shiva Shankar Manandhar and Bhuwan Thapa, who are regarded as the first actors in the history of the Nepali film industry. The first film to be produced under a private banner was Maitighar, which was released at the end of 1966 by Sumonanjali Films Pvt. Ltd. Although it was a Nepali movie, it had many Indians contributing toward the making of the film. Mala Sinha had the lead role, along with C P Lohani. It had special appearances of Sunil Dutt and comedian Rajendra Nath. Directed by B S Thapa and music scored by Jaidev, a veteran music maestro, it had Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar, and Manna Dey, all of them established Indian singers, doing the playback-singing along with the household names of Nepali music, like Narayan Gopal, Prem Dhoj Pradhan, C P Lohani, and Aruna Lama.
Then the government established the Royal Nepal Film Corporation in 1971. Mann Ko Bandh was the first film produced by the Corporation. Prakesh Thapa was the director of the film. Nati Kaji and Shiva Shankar were the music composers of the songs. Amber Gurung scored the background music. The film premiered in 1973 in Kathmandu. Mann Ko Bandh was followed by Kumari (the first Eastman color Nepali film) in 1977, Sindoor in 1980, and Jeevan Rekha in series. The success of these films opened up avenue for private parties to enter into filmmaking as industrial endeavor.
Golden Era:
After the 1980s, some relatively more creative films were made and they became successful too. Thus, filmmaking started to appear a little more viable profession and the number of productions increased a bit. After the introduction of private companies in the Nepali film industry, the time came when more films were being made and they were much more accepted by Nepali audiences. Some popular films such as Samjhana, Lahure, Basudev, Saino, Koseli and Kusume Rumal were released between 1984 and 1993. The leading actors of those times were Bhuwan K.C. and Tripti Nadakar, whose on-screen chemistry saw them being dubbed the "golden couple" of the Nepali film industry. In the later years of the decade, the industry saw the rise of Rajesh Hamal and Karishma Manandhar.
After the restoration of the Democracy in 1990, the film industry began to grow rapidly. The number of productions increased. Within a period of three years, some 140 films were made. Distribution started to develop. Market share in the existing market increased and the market itself expanded. Cinema halls increased to more than 300. Nepali filmmakers became optimistic of displacing Hindi films, which had dominated the Nepali market.
Conflict Era:
The start of the downfall of the Nepali film industry was the result of the Maoist revolution. In the era of war and conflict, fewer films were made with low budget and even lower performance, which resulted in even smaller audiences. In the later years of the conflict, the production and release of Nepali films had come to a standstill with many actors and filmmakers leaving the country in search of work because there were no films being made.
However, during the 1990s, some filmmakers, mostly with non-fiction base, started championing for a new kind of cinema. They denounced the crude imitation of Bollywood aesthetics and demanded indigenous aesthetics and a more realistic approach. They made some films which have received some critical acclaim at home and some international recognition. Historic movies like Balidan and Seema Rekha made during this period were appreciated both by critics and audience.
Later the Film Development Board (FDB) was established by the Government of Nepal according to the existed Motion Picture Act amended on 20th November 1991.

Present Situation:

By 2006, with Maoists coming into mainstream politics, the Nepali film industry started to develop. Now, more and more films are being made and released. The production companies and those in the industry are enthusiastic about the country's new situation. Also the quality of the films being produced is improving, however, in comparison to Bollywood, it still lags far behind and the competition is tuff with maximum youths preferring Bollywood and Hollywood to Kollyhood.

Also, most of the Nepali films of new generation have the same storyline that was used in Bollyhood during 1990s and 2000. Actresses are either shown glamorous or a simple village girl. Such story still prevails in mainstream Nepali movies. We could see the movie posters pasted on the wall of the streets where the heroines are either in shorts or are crying their eyes out. Although few new generation directors are trying to display a different storyline and give a new look to the film industry, the maximum audience of the Nepali Film industry are those who prefer the traditional pattern and relate themselves to the movies that shows simple village life. That is why the directors often hesitate to take risk making movies with different taste and storyline.
New generation movie makers however, are geared up to make sensible cinema with entertainment rather than Bollywood inspired socio-actions. Kagbeni, Sano Sansar, Mero Euta Saathi Cha, First Love, Kohi Mero, etc. are some of the fine example of quality cinema in terms of presentation, performance, story and technical superiority.
Thus, the Nepali cinema still has not been able to come far away from where it started, in terms of the storyline. However, keeping in mind the interest and choices of younger crowds and to attract their attention and interest towards the industry some new generation directors have been experimenting with the story of the movie. And, also the involvement of the skilled and professional actors, directors and the crew in the film has resulted in the improvement in the quality and the story of the films. We could say that, at present, the Nepali Cinema is catering to both kinds of its audience - old and new.

- Kiran Giri

Stereotyping Women in Media

Women images, in media are always stereotyped. The roles they perform, the way they are presented are all traditional and had been the same way for decades now. Women are always prioritized for their physical beauty, sex appeal, submissive and suffering character. Be it advertorials or soap operas, women always are portrayed in their stereotype images.
Women in Advertorials
Despite women's pro-active movement and Code of Commercial Advertising on Doordarshan, the Code for Self Regulation and Code for Advertising Practice of the Advertising Standard Council of Pakistan and the Indecent Representative of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986, the fact remains that both Print and Electronic Media continue to portray stereotype images of women. They focus on sex appeal or physical beauty of women to sell a product. In spite of some good work being done by NGO's like Media Watch, Amnesty International and some select UN committees, the assessment of the content and portrayal of women by media have remained a neglected area of research and a matter meriting redress by the regulatory bodies.
In most of the advertorials, Women are portrayed either as housewives obsessed with cleanliness, personal hygiene, fragrances and liking for products to keep home dirt and germ free or as a sex object focusing their physical beauty, well-set hair, perfect body shape and teeth, shining skin, etc. to sell products. Woman's beauty and bodily charm is used to sell cosmetics and physical fitness products.
Even the advertorials depict women as submissive characters and dependent on men for their rescue while most of the men in the advertisements are more masculine and strong and comparatively successful. Advertisements showcasing successful and competent women are lesser than the ones with housewives and beautiful bimbos. The ads that feature women in the lead and central role are the ones for kitchen and home appliances, sanitary, cosmetics, baby care, domestic help and detergents. Some ads also show women crying out for help unless a man comes to rescue. Such ads portraying man as strong and central character often promote products for man's use. The ads for cosmetic products show women obsessed with her physical beauty and trying to make her look beautiful in order to attract a man.
A study of women in advertisements shows that women's appearance in personal hygiene product adverts are seven times more than those of the adverts in other categories. Seventy five percent of all adverts portray women for products used in the bathroom or kitchen; fifty six percent of adverts portray women as domestic helps or housewives. While men are presented in forty three professions concerning their roles, women in comparison are presented in eighteens of them.
Adverts, thus, stereotype women image portraying them as dedicated housewives or beauties in order to attract men.
Women in Soap Operas
Another stereotype entails depicting women as a wife or a mother or shy, submissive and suffering women or someone meant exclusively for home and in certain cases, another woman's enemy. This type of image is usually seen in the daily soaps. Women here are showcased as wife or mother or a daughter-in-law or a domestic help suffering through all the trouble for the sake of the family welfare, fighting with the evils, usually another woman portrayed as villain. Though she is attractive, she is home centered and contented. Although, the central character is given to the lady, the male characters are usually successful and often competent. No matter how competent the woman is shown in the soap at the beginning, as the series proceeds and she gets married, all women turn into the submissive and suffering housewives. All her, dreams and aims are shattered and she ends up having only one aim in life that is, to beget children and nurture her new family. Almost all of the prime time soap operas fall into this category. No matter how competent she was at the beginning, she ends up herself into middle of the domestic trouble.
The aim of each woman depicted there is to get married and beget children. These soaps are about companionship and relationship. In them relationship between women among themselves are important but not so important as between a woman and a man. The woman is left to serve the world inside her home while the outside world belongs to her husband or sons, similar to the traditional society. Most of the soap operas showcase traditional families with women busy in household chores and tensions and also are dressed in traditional attire, usually a sari covering their heads with a Pallu. Most of our prime television soaps fall in this category. Only few of the soap operas show women as competitive and working lady. However, a woman who pursues her career at the expense of her men-folk is shown to come to grief for her audacity and unnatural aspiration and also displayed as a failure. Any attempt on her part to challenge the accepted stereotype image of a woman whose success and achievement depend upon her working with men does not find favour with conventional audience. Hence, the soap operas, too, stereotype women's role.
Women in Film Industries
The film industry is not an exception. The actresses in the movies are usually the sufferers and waiting for their hero to come and rescue them. Old movies where the lady had a strong character were rare as woman stronger than a man was not acceptable in the society. However, few movies did break the stereotype. So far, the Western market has overcome the traditional pattern of portraying women however the Eastern film market still revolves around the same line with very few exceptions. Women still are weak and dependent over their father or their boyfriend/husbands. They usually are the easy target for the villains and it is the hero who rescues them. They are usually obsessed with their looks and make up. One of the best example is the Bollyhood movie Tees Mar Khan where Katrina Kaif's character is so much obsessed with being an actress and looking good that the only thing she does in the entire movie is make up and overacting. The actresses are either simple villager or a super glamorous city girl but always weak and dependent on a male.
Women as Media Professionals
Also, the media as a profession for women is more or less difficult. They are always left behind in terms of major decision making or control of the management. The important decision makers are usually men and also the major or the important role and responsibilities lies on their hands. Women are more often in front of the camera reading news or leading some programs. The presenters, as we see them, are beautiful ladies with perfect physical features. Women are judged not just by their talent but also their beauty and good looks in the media. Be it a mainstream media or other, women with good looks could be found dominating the cameras. Not just adverts and daily soap operas but also professional media outlets, broadcast stations prefer women with good looks and facial features than a plain one. In the media, women are judged more by their looks then their intellect. This, however, at present, is changing and we can see few women enjoying the important and decision making posts in the media houses.
Media, as a result, has not been doing justice to the role of women in society. However, for media to promote balanced and non-stereotype portrayal of women in their multiple roles, it is imperative that government, media, NGOs and private sector should come together and forge joint strategies to promote gender equality and gender justice. However this presupposes gender sensitivity among media owners and managers. In its new-found expansive role, media should foster a broad ethical content and moralizing impulse in the society so essential for the emergence of a civil society. Moreover for the society’s abiding benefit media must nurture and transmit humane values of civilization. They must take upon themselves the proactive role of a protector and a promoter of human rights, gender justice and democratic order. Thus, the stereotyping of the women in the media should be removed and they should be treated and characterized as equals and in their present status and role. However, in context of portraying women in a fair manner, Eastern media (especially Nepali) still has a long way to go.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Government media: advantages and disadvantages

Nature of the medium affects the way they deliver information to the audience. It is not only the content that leads people to interpretation, the nature of the media plays equally significant role. What is communicated is equally important as how it is communicated. Regarding the nature of media, or the authority that operates mass media, they can be categorized as:
 Government media (State owned)
 Commercial media(Privately owned)
 Community media

Hence, media ownership remains a significant field of study that deserves a careful consideration. One can argue whether or not, a particular type of media (like those given above) can best serve people and the nation. There are enough merits and de-merits one can discuss, of any of the media. The control of power and authority, in the sector of mass media, make them distinct in terms of their roles and functions. All three types of media are bound to function as per their own rules and obligations. Though there are differing situations and circumstances that determine their boundaries, there is, at least, a set of features that define their existence in a particular course of time.

Government Media
Government media are the part of a government, which function as its mouthpiece. It is also called state owned media; a media, that works for mass communication, which is ultimately controlled and funded by the state. The news outlets may be the sole media outlet or may exist in competition with privately controlled media. Some critics claim that government media are not media by themselves, only appendages of the government.

Limitations of State owned media:
It remains in contrast with privately owned media with no direct control from any political party. Critics argue that state media are not media in a true sense; it is not more than the mouthpiece of the government. Its loyalty, first to the government restricts it aim to act as the voice of the voiceless. In this regard, it serves a particular interest group, not general people. In some cases, state media can be used frequently by the autocratic government as the propaganda tools. It suffers deliberate manipulations of its contents by the ruling party, reducing its efficiency and credibility. Government may censor the content which it deems illegal, immoral, or unfavorable to government, hence, it is not independent of the governing party. Some governments also compel journalists’ affiliation with the ruling party like in Soviet Union and North Korea. Within countries with high level of government interference, it may use the state media for propaganda purpose.

State media, in many situations, may be used to promote the regime in favorable light, vilify opposition by launching smear campaigns, give skewed coverage to oppositional views or to act as a mouthpiece to advocate the regime’s ideology.

On the other hand, state media may only report on legislation after it has already become law to stifle any debate. It reduces the sphere of ideological conflicts. People are led to follow an existing ideology that might not serve the needy, but certain interest groups instead.

Public Choice Theory advocates that government media distorts information in favor of ruling party and entrenches its rule, while preventing the public from informed decisions, therefore undermining democratic institutions. This discourages independent media which promotes alternative voices allowing individual to choose political parties, goods, services without fear. State owned media are also criticized for the boundary they impose in media competition. Unlike independent media, state owned media cannot ensure people’s acquisition of unbiased information. Because competition is a part of Check and Balance System of democracy, which is discouraged by state media, it fails to act as the Fourth Estate of the nation. Government media are found prominent in poor, autocratic, non-democratic societies with highly interventionist government that have some interest in controlling flow of information.

Strengths of state owned media:
According to Public Interest Theory, state ownership is desirable. Dissemination of information is public good and to withhold it would be costly, even if it is not paid for. Cost of provision and dissemination of information is high. However, once costs are incurred, marginal costs for providing information are low and therefore are subject to increasing returns. In a progressive society, state media can be less biased, more complete and accurate.

State owned media are media for people. It is not an individual who holds the authority, and hence, it is not guided by an individual interest. Government media are open to all and accommodate voices of general public. In a true sense, state owned media can best act as voice of the voiceless. With due consideration of its roles and capabilities, it is treated as Fourth Estate of the Nation. State media is the only media in the nation which treats people as citizens. For state media, people are not merely the sole consumers of its products, but in fact, it has and fulfils its responsibilities towards the people and the nation. It is often used in contrast to private or independent media, which is guided by a commercial viewpoint. Its content is usually more prescriptive, with no pressure to attract high ratings or to generate ad revenue. The contents therefore, are considerably more reliable, credible and accurate in this sense, compared to that of independent media. State media legitimatize its presence by emphasizing national unity against domestic or foreign aggressions. In more open and competitive contexts, the state may control or find its own outlet. The state media bare less government control in more open societies.

State owned media may be required by law to provide free airtime to bodies like election authority and even civil societies organizations to air educational messages and contents related to Public Service Announcements.
State media have far much greater reaches than independent media in terms of population and geography and therefore, are preferred by the national plans and other campaigns that require maximum public attention. More than commercially oriented media outlets, state media are preferred to reach poorer strata of population.

Being a public media, it is identified for its loyalty towards people. It can best bridge the gap between the people and the government. Government frequently uses state media to convey the national plans and programs to grass root level. State media motivates people to be together for general welfare by promoting women’s empowerment or even public participation. State media like BBC are widely recognized for their diligent practice and their respect to people’s right to freedom.

Sujan Achchhami
Sagarmatha College for Higher Studies

Party Politics in Media in Nepal

Diwakar Pyakurel
1. Introduction
Multiparty politics and independence of press both are inseparable parts of today's democracy. They both together contribute to strengthen democratic values and practices. However, the relationship between political parties and media / press sector is quite complex and interesting.
Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia defines, "A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions."
The Legal Dictionary of "The Free Dictionary Dot Com" defines 'freedom of the press' as, "The right, …to gather, publish, and distribute information and ideas without government restriction; this right encompasses freedom from prior restraints on publication and freedom from Censorship." Thus, press freedom also includes the environment also free from any political interference. In this respect, involvement of party politics in media is regarded as an intrusion to press freedom. In principles, political biasness of any media or any journalist is never acceptable.
However, as in various sectors of social lives, practices are deviated from the principles. Frequently political parties are seen to be involving in controlling media and manipulating the messages. In Nepal too, party politics in media is an apparent phenomena. That can be seen in different forms.
2. Forms of political involvement in media in Nepal
I) Journalists' organizations with political face
In Nepal, there are many organizations of journalists, which are well known for their political identity. For example, Nepal Press Union is backed by Nepali Congress, Press Chautari Nepal by CPN - UML and Revolutionary Journalists Association (Krantikari Patrakar Sangh) by UCPN Maoists. These organizations don't claim themselves to be sister organizations of respective political parties, neither do the parties call them formal sister organizations. However, we can easily know them from their programs and activities. Some of the most common programs by these groups are to organize press meetings when a leader from respective party visits districts, and provide the platform for the leader to interact with journalists in the district. Besides, they become more active to serve its "mother party", when the party has some grand programs like general conventions to foster media coverage of such programs.
II) Media run by political parties
Besides their authentic mouthpieces, political parties in Nepal are believed to be running other media as well to disseminate their ideas. It is most commonly seen in weekly tabloids. No matter they claim themselves to be objective, they have specific group of readers with specific political ideology and thus, their political ideology is a kind of an "open secret". For example, 'Chhalphal', 'Dristi' and 'Budhabar' are near CPN UML, though the party has its authentic mouthpiece, 'Navayug'. Similarly, 'Tarun', 'Sanghu' etc are near Nepali Congress. Moreover, different fractions of a single party have different outlets and they compete for larger readership. Not only big parties, small parties also have newspapers to spread their agendas.
III) Political panel during FNJ elections
Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) is the "umbrella organization" of Nepalese journalists, and it works for rights of journalists and media without political discrimination. However, its members are elected from political panels. During general convention of the body, the above discussed journalists' associations with political face form their separate panel and run for election. Nevertheless, FNJ doesn't acknowledge political affiliation of its candidates formally. In the last FNJ convention (May 2011), Press Chautari and Krantikari Patrakar Sangh had a common "progressive" panel, whereas Nepal Press Union had its own "democratic" panel. Besides, there were some "independent" candidates, however in comparison to politically allied panels, they seemed far weaker.
IV) Political appointment
In Press Council, the governing body of media freedom and responsibilities too, executive members of the board including the chairperson are appointed politically. Article 4 (1) of Press Council Act, 1992 says, "The Council shall be an autonomous and corporate body having perpetual succession." However, the sixth article of the same act provisions for political appointment, that government is free to appoint people form the sector of law or journalism as it wishes. It has been tradition that the government has been appointing the chairperson and members, only those who support the governing party.
Besides, the Government of Nepal own and runs many media houses, namely Gorkhapatra Samsthan, Radio Nepal and Nepal Television, and a news agency Rastriya samachar Samiti (RSS). In these houses too, office bearer executives and other members are directly appointed by Minister of Information and Communications.

3. Political affiliation of journalists: Accusations and defences
I) Accusations
Because objectivity and balance are two of the basic components of media ethics, there are many critics who can't tolerate party politics in media, including political affiliation of journalists. They opine that it brings biasness in their profession, and they might favour one side whereas criticizing another even in news.
Nirmala Mani Adhikary, Assistant Professor of Journalism at Kathmandu University, who has written dozens of books in media, says, "Whenever journalists do politics, or politicians do journalism, it hampers both sectors." For him, political biasness results in decrease of accuracy, balance, creativity and objectivity, which are in deed prime responsibilities of a journalist.
IN the same way, P Kharel, Chairperson of Nepal Press Institute and the first professor of Journalism in Nepal, opines that Nepali journalism is yet to be professional. In addition to many reasons, "... there has been 'Party Journalism' in Nepal. It is more on weekly tabloids, in comparison to broadsheet dailies", he says.
II) Defences
No one ever openly acknowledges that political involvement of journalists is positive. Even those who are involved in politically-backed journalists' associations too don't accept the accusations that they are promoting party politics in media. However, they defend themselves as saying that every one has political ideology, and it is fundamental human rights as well. So, journalists too are free to choose and express whatever political stream they like.
However, Nirmala Mani says that there lies a great difference between having a political belief and practicing politics itself. Thus, though journalists are allowed to keep their beliefs, as they too are human beings; they can't practice politics at the same time being a journalist.
4. Conclusion
As of everything, involvement of party politics in journalism (or journalism's involvement in part politics) has both positive and negative sides. However, in consideration of well-established global journalistic norms and values, political affiliation of journalists and media can't be considered acceptable, since it endanger objectivity, neutrality and objectivity of journalists. Of course, they are free to keep and follow whatever belief they like. But they should always be careful and cautious so that there beliefs doesn't have any negative influence in their professionalism.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Public Relation Notes (BA III)

(Prepared by By Jagadish Pokhrel, Teacher)
Media Issues
media issues you are supposed to cover as per your syllabus arise in three broad contexts: globalization, role and effect of the media. In these contexts, we talk about the media generally in the following sense: that is, the mass media for us here

• is any communication—whether written, broadcast, or spoken—that reaches a large audience. This includes television, radio, advertising, movies, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, and so forth.

• is significant because it reflects and creates the modern culture

• legislatures, media executives, and sociologists agree that mass media is a permanent part of modern culture

• messages promote products, moods, attitudes, and a sense of what is and is not important

• makes people famous businessmen, politicians, criminals, actors, singers, and other celebrities or “stars”

• programming meant to please all ages, incomes, backgrounds, and attitudes, so television becomes the primary focus of most mass-media discussions. More recently, the Internet has increased its role exponentially as more businesses and households “sign on.”

• three main perspectives on the role of media: 1. the limited-effects theory, that is, because people generally choose what to watch or read based on what they already believe, media exerts a negligible influence, 2. the class-dominant theory, that is, the media reflects and projects the view of a minority elite, which controls it, and 3. the culturalist theory, which claims that people interact with media to create their own meanings out of the images and messages they receive. This theory sees audiences as playing an active rather than passive role in relation to mass media

Globalization-related issues
Globalization, Nepal and Cultural Intrusion

• unidirectional flow from the west to the rest

• cultural/media imperialism, like colonial times-Herbert Schiller

• world patterns of communication flow, both in destiny and direction, mirror the system of domination in the economic and political order (Sinclair et al.), a reflection of obvious power structures (Chomsky)

• media have vested interest in the capitalist system, western values and cultures

• contrary views (Sinclair et al) – transfer of technology, and the trend toward greater regional exchanges

• countries like Nepal lose either way—lack capacity to buy or develop technology, cultural invasion occurs from global and regional centers. e.g. Hollywood and Bollywood—intrude Kollywood

• need of national cultural policy—to subsume any cultural intrusion, such as the revival of Lok Dohori. It fosters cultural identity and creativity and resists intrusion

Media Imperialism Vs Cultural Identity

• some scholars claim that the export of American and Western popular culture is latter-day imperialism

• e.g. rock music encourages youngsters to use drugs and engage in sexual behavior

• cultural imperialism in the name of globalization and modernization
• conditions for preservation of cultural identity necessary—such as national cultural policy for safeguarding national cultural development while promoting knowledge of other cultures

Obstruction to the Global Village

• globe connected via communication and transportation, that is, technology

• but economic power important—access issue

• rich countries control all electronic power—dump obsolete technologies in developing countries

• access shaped by domestic strength—economic resources, good governance, political stability, market size, media system and so on

• imbalance in sharing new technology and flow of information holds back development

Issue of Digital Divide

• let’s say, there are 1000 people in the world, then there would be 520 women, 480 men, 330 children, 60 over 65 years, 10 college graduates, 335 illiterate adults. 52 North Americans, 55 Russians, 84 Latin Americans, 95 Europeans, 124 Africans, 584 Asians

• communications would be difficult—165 would speak Mandarin Chinese, 86 English, 83 Hindi, 64 Spanish, 58 Russian, and 37 Arabic. The other half would speak one of more than 200 languages

• one third would have access to clean drinking water; half of our children would be immunized. 500 people would suffer malnutrition. 200 of 1000 would control wealth. Another 200 would have only 2 per cent of the wealth. Seventy people would own cars. One would have a computer, probably not connected to Internet

• rich have grown richer, middle class has shrunk and the poor have remained poor

• the division is critical in the field of information = knowledge = power

• some say information equals wealth today—65 % in some ways employed in information occupations

• issues of control, access, freedom, fragmentation, privacy

• society divided in information-rich and information-poor—digital divide

Glocalization Of News

• international reporting has a role in understanding nations

• local readers may not always have much interest in foreign news

• news media localize the global news to meet the information needs of the readers-- glocalisation

• glocalisation tries to answer – what does this mean to me?

• example, Nepali media covered 9/11, Gurjrat quake and Libya returnees by localizing the international news

Electronic Imperialism

• Nepal’s communication revolution essentially a hardware revolution, a physical engineering, not yet social engineering

• satellite broadcast, cable network, fiber optics, compact discs, videocassettes, PCs etc setting the pace of media development
• those who lack these or the money to purchase these are in a distinct disadvantage in global communication

• like cultural invasion, an electronic invasion occurs when a dependency relationship is established by the importation of technology, foreign produced software, along with engineers and technicians, and wherewithal to manage information resources

• if a few rich countries continue to control all the electronic power, and dump obsolete technologies, poor nations will see their development hampered

• developing countries are far behind in latest technology and lack a communication philosophy, approach and policy of their own

• Nepal has culturally rich civilization and a communication tradition, rich and refined, in theory and practice

• but the traditional approaches cannot meet today’s requirements

• blending traditional communication system with modern communication based on the latest scientific advances in communication theory and technology is necessary

Are Electronic Media the Second God?

• anthropologists see communication as the means through which culture is learned, acted out, transmitted and preserved

• many ways to know—are mass media technologies, genres, programs, or contents? Are they cultural or entertainment industries? Are they organizations?

• describe the God, as all knowing, all powerful, a spirit, not a body, always with us, everywhere, working in mysterious ways, never allowing full understanding of him

• this describes the electronic media, and they are the Second God, the man created

• views like medium is the message and interpreting media like the second god are not very relevant from the Nepali perspective

• Nirmala Mani Adhikari claims that intra-personal dimensions also matter in Vedic Hindu approach in which communication is sharing among Sahridayas

Mass Media and Nationality

• media playing integrative role in the west—example, European Union

• in the developing countries, increasing communication is about assertion of group identities, in terms of language, religion, region, ethnicity etc—example, India, Sri Lanka

• although influence of media on audiences, not clear, they are known to reinforce popular image of society and can play a role in nation building process

• socially responsible media can foster national belongingness

• during conflict, the national media system as a whole should take up the side of the nation—Nirmala Mani Adhikari

• patriotism and nationalism must be resounded by the national media system in any country

Standardization and Imitation in Media Content

• unlike other products, media products often follow standard ways and formats

• standardization, the standard way of presenting the content, helps audiences to understand the media content

• example, inverted pyramid – common everywhere

• imitation may bring immediate profit to producers—but that is ethically problematic, whereas standardization is not

Role Related
Public Opinion and Media

• public opinion = aggregate of individual opinions towards persons and issues

• media, politics, and public opinion related

• the political realm depends on the media report of issues for the public to know them

• the public depends on the media for objective knowledge of these issues

• media, the mind magicians, can cause a downward spiral in public opinion

• public opinion surveys major tools

• media increasingly using polls as sources

Propagation Vs Propaganda

• propagation = spread, dissemination; propaganda = misinformation, half truths

• propaganda is telling only one side of the story, as a deliberate attempt to influence collective behavior and opinion

• frequently distorts facts, appeals to passion and prejudice, often false and misleading

• intention matters: e.g. a lawyer’s brief and a billboard

• propaganda may be circulated by or for individuals, businesses, ethnic associations, religious organizations, political organizations, governments and special interests

• efficient use of communication media is central to these efforts

• German and British propaganda during World War I

• US organized the Committee on Public Information, an official propaganda agency, to mobilize American public opinion about the war

• after war, totalitarian nations employed propaganda as an instrument of national policy

• the Cold War, between US and Soviet Union, saw a lot of propaganda too

• now used in election campaigns

• e.g. Nepali people demonstrated against Zee News propaganda

Law, Morality and Mass Media Ethics

• law is binding and has to do with external behavior > morality seeks to govern internal processes of intention, motive and conscience > ethics has to do with duty to self and others

• e.g. Jana Astha published a naked photo of artist Shrisha Karki who killed herself after that. the court, that is law, did not find any problem with the paper’s decision. the incident provoked moral outrage among many who came out to the streets in protest against the paper. debates on ethics of the case took the centre stage. remember the class discussion: Puja and Namrata handled similar issues differently

• law refers to the rules that are determined and enforced by the state and that are intended to channel behavior and to resolve certain adverse events. morality has to do with rules of conduct which are less binding on individuals. both guide human behavior

• e.g. sale of weapons may be legal but those who profit from it come under moral censure

• in religious societies, law and morality are almost equally strong

• some say the task of law is to enforce morality while others say law should not be construed as defining morality

• ethics is the study of what we ought to do – our obligations to others

• so in dealing with the media, we are concerned with ethical standards— code of conduct—of the media personnel. are they taking good or bad, right or wrong decisions?

• media ethics is primarily self-determined, rational and voluntary

• two views emerge—one, the media can publicize anything they wish to, and, two, the news media should be concerned about how they gather, and interpret information and the effects of their actions

• the ideal situation will be to have both freedom of expression and a responsible exercise of that freedom

• correct ways of making ethical decisions will be to use self-realization, and self-restraint because external guidance on their behavior would curtail freedom

Concentration of Media Business and Aftermath

• giant international media mega-corporations control production, distribution and audience

• they seek profit and market power

• media in fewer hands mean their monopoly, or even an oligopoly

• hard for new ventures to enter the field of mass communication

• three kinds of conglomerates emerging: industrial, service and communications conglomerates

• in books and magazines, there is a perfect competition, which is good for the consumers

• but in TV and newspapers, oligopolies control most of them – they don’t allow competition, which is not good for audiences

• let’s look at our own cable and telecom systems, they have the monopoly to decide what to give us, for how much

• according to McQuail, there are three public policy issues arising out of the trend of concentration: pricing, product, position of competitors

• that means, the provider sets the prices, quality and choice of contents, environment to drive out smaller competitors

• e.g. it is difficult for new media ventures to compete with Kantipur publications, although they are not yet a monopoly

• we can anticipate mergers of media in Nepal too

Owners’ Influence versus Editorial Independence

• contents of mass media reflect the interests of those who finance them, be they owners or advertisers

• according to McQuail, owners are of three kinds: commercial companies, private non-profit bodies, and the public sector

• commercial owners see media as their ‘property’ rather than an instrument of public service

• non-profits designed to safeguard independence, but they have a special cultural or social task such as political parties

• public ownership also ranges from direct state administration to other formations

• a study has found three out of four publishers taking interest in newsroom decisions

• owners exercise control through one of these means: direct day to day interventions, and setting goals and resources and appointing editors to implement them

• the right of the editor to take independent decision on what to publish and what not to publish is often compromised

• it is fine for the editor to accept the job under the broad policies and principles of the organization

• but the proprietor should not intervene in the day-to-day newspaper handling

• editorial independence emphasizes editor’s sphere of autonomy without which newspapers become lapdogs, not watchdogs

Journalism: Balancing Service and Business

• modern media institution is both a public service of informing the people and a business of making profit

• their task of providing a free flow of information and opinion needs to be balanced with the goals of business, such as through advertisements and circulations

• the law of large numbers governs them: whatever content will attract the largest number of consumers, which means attracting more advertising revenues, guides these media

• although the mass media have a responsibility to their owners and advertisers, they should put the public interest before them—and that is hard

• ideally, journalists should be guided by what function the news plays in the lives of the people

• the central purpose of journalism is to tell the truth so that people will have the information that they need to be sovereign

• aligning it with the business interests is a challenging demand on the media

The Objectivity Concept: Theory Vs Practice

• the concept of objectivity is concerned with the way news is created and reported, in the selection of facts, their arrangement, their framing and formation on public agenda with or without relationship to values

• objectivity is generally defined as the view that one can and should separate facts from values. Facts are assertions about the world open to independent validation; they are statements that stand beyond the distorting influences of any individual’s personal preferences. Values, so it is argued, are an individual’s conscious or unconscious set of preferences for what the world should be

• it means: (1) accuracy; (2) truthfulness; (3) fairness and balance, and (4) moral neutrality

• in many cases journalists are not objective in their reporting either because they consciously prefer not to be or because they are being manipulated by their sources

• some believe subjectivity is preferable to objectivity when the media cover illiberal and anti-democratic phenomena like terror, racism, cannibalism, sexism, chauvinism, fascism, genocide and slavery

• the idea of media objectivity was sustained by the acceptance of photographic realism

• as one critic puts it, objective reporting is a way of getting you to accept the journalist's account by saying "I don't have any passions. I don't have any convictions. I don't have the word of God… I am just telling you the way it is, you see, so accept it because this is the way it is”

• reporters, like all human beings, need to be aware of their biases

Effects Related
Mass Media Effects

• the limited-effects theory argues that because people generally choose what to watch or read based on what they already believe, media exerts a negligible influence. This theory originated and was tested in the 1940s and 1950s. Studies that examined the ability of media to influence voting found that well-informed people relied more on personal experience, prior knowledge, and their own reasoning. However, media “experts” more likely swayed those who were less informed. Critics point to two problems with this perspective. First, they claim that limited-effects theory ignores the media's role in framing and limiting the discussion and debate of issues. How media frames the debate and what questions members of the media ask change the outcome of the discussion and the possible conclusions people may draw. Second, this theory came into existence when the availability and dominance of media was far less widespread

• the class-dominant theory argues that the media reflects and projects the view of minority elite, which controls it. Those people who own and control the corporations that produce media comprise these elite. Advocates of this view concern themselves particularly with massive corporate mergers of media organizations, which limit competition and put big business at the reins of media—especially news media. Their concern is that when ownership is restricted, a few people then have the ability to manipulate what people can see or hear. e.g. owners can easily avoid or silence stories that expose unethical corporate behavior or hold corporations responsible for their actions.

the issue of sponsorship adds to this problem. Advertising dollars fund most media. Networks aim programming at the largest possible audience because the broader the appeal, the greater the potential purchasing audience and the easier selling air time to advertisers becomes. Thus, news organizations may shy away from negative stories about corporations (especially parent corporations) that finance large advertising campaigns in their newspaper or on their stations. Television networks receiving millions of dollars in advertising from companies like Nike and other textile manufacturers were slow to run stories on their news shows about possible human-rights violations by these companies in foreign countries. Media watchers identify the same problem at the local level where city newspapers will not give new cars poor reviews or run stories on selling a home without an agent because the majority of their funding comes from auto and real estate advertising. This influence also extends to programming.

critics of this theory counter these arguments by saying that local control of news media largely lies beyond the reach of large corporate offices elsewhere, and that the quality of news depends upon good journalists. They contend that those less powerful and not in control of media have often received full media coverage and subsequent support. e.g. they name numerous environmental causes, the anti-nuclear movement, the anti-Vietnam movement, and the pro-Gulf War movement.
while most people argue that a corporate elite controls media, a variation on this approach argues that a politically “liberal” elite controls media. They point to the fact that journalists, being more highly educated than the general population, hold more liberal political views, consider themselves “left of center”
media language can be revealing, too. Those who argue that a political elite controls media also point out that the movements that have gained media attention—the environment, anti-nuclear, and anti-Vietnam—generally support liberal political issues

• the culturalist theory, developed in the 1980s and 1990s, combines the other two theories and claims that people interact with media to create their own meanings out of the images and messages they receive. This theory sees audiences as playing an active rather than passive role in relation to mass media. One strand of research focuses on the audiences and how they interact with media; the other strand of research focuses on those who produce the media, particularly the news.

theorists emphasize that audiences choose what to watch among a wide range of options, choose how much to watch, and may choose the mute button or the VCR remote over the programming selected by the network or cable station. Researchers have found that when people approach material, whether written text or media images and messages, they interpret that material based on their own knowledge and experience. Thus, when researchers ask different groups to explain the meaning of a particular song or video, the groups produce widely divergent interpretations based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, and religious background. Therefore, culturalist theorists claim that, while a few elite in large corporations may exert significant control over what information media produces and distributes, personal perspective plays a more powerful role in how the audience members interpret those messages
Children, TV and Advertising

• critics fear that ads create in children wants that cannot be fulfilled and teaches them wrong lessons. This results in family tension

• defenders say ads help children learn to be consumers

• but effects hard to judge:
• to what extent do children pay attention to commercials?

• what, if any, effect do commercials have on children’s thinking process? Can they, for example, distinguish between fact and fantasy in a commercial?

• what, if any, influence do children exert on their parents’ buying as a result of commercials?

• research suggests the younger the child, the fuller attention he or she pays to commercials. Very young ones do not know the difference between commercials and programs

• young children pay a good deal of attention—such as to ads of detergents; perhaps they are learning about unfamiliar and unnecessary things

• as they get older they pay less attention, and adults scorn them

• the evidence so far indicates that children are influenced by commercials and they pressure their parents to buy advertised products

• main groups of needs satisfied in children by mass media are: entertaining (or emotional), informative ( or cognitive), social, non-social (escapist), mode of consumption

• children want information from TV, preferably presented in an entertaining manner, because they want in various ways to improve their real social contacts

Stereotyping, the Second Shift and the Media
media stereotypes are inevitable, especially in the advertising, entertainment and news industries, which need as wide an audience as possible to quickly understand information. Stereotypes act like codes that give audiences a quick, common understanding of a person or group of people—usually relating to their class, ethnicity or race, gender, sexual orientation, social role or occupation.
but stereotypes can be problematic. they can:

• reduce a wide range of differences in people to simplistic categorizations

• transform assumptions about particular groups of people into "realities"

• be used to justify the position of those in power

• perpetuate social prejudice and inequality

• more often than not, the groups being stereotyped have little to say about how they are represented.

e.g: female stereotypes in entertainment and news media, including onscreen portrayals of women, their effect on cultural ideas of beauty, and how these stereotypes influence the social development of young women

• the second shift is the job women have at home caring for the family after they completed their first shift at the workplace

• second shift activities are: housework, childcare, and managing domestic life

• the issue of second shift not unfamiliar to Nepali society as women are increasingly going for ‘paid work’ here

• the stereotype of becoming ‘just a housewife’ is increasingly getting real

• the condition of job-holding women becomes worse when her husband doesn’t cooperate with them in housework and caring children

• women underrepresented in media coverage—feature in accidents, natural disasters or domestic violence rather than in stories about their professional abilities and expertise

Can Media Help Control Crimes?
the debate over media violence has eluded definitive answers for more than three decades. At first blush, the debate is dominated by one question—whether or not media violence actually causes real-life violence. But closer examination reveals a political battle. On the one hand, there are those who blame media violence for societal violence and want to censor violent content to protect children. On the other hand are those who see regulation as the slippery slope to censorship or a smokescreen hiding the root causes of violence in society.

one group of people see humans are moral and desire to obey the values, rules and norms of the society. Those who break laws and commit crimes are therefore motivated by their inability to fit into the normal, cohesive, order.
another sees society as fragmented and divisive where selfish interests naturally lead to violence, crime, and delinquency. They prescribe rigorous system of social controls.
the third view is that people in power define what is deviant. People break standards established by others but do not break their own standards.
Nirmala Mani Adhikari says violence is related with culture and adds that communication media can be helpful in alienating the crime.
in the midst of all these views, one thing is certain: the issue of media violence is not going away. Increasingly the debate is focusing on the "culture of violence," and on the normalization of aggression and lack of empathy in our society.
the depiction of violence is evolving in a number of media formats. Violence is used by the entertainment and information industries.
maybe effects depend on how someone is disposed towards crime in the society. For some, media violence will have a cathartic effect and for others, it will incite them to engage in violence. Without definitive and exhaustive studies of the media’s role in controlling crimes in a particular culture, we cannot say anything for sure. What appears important then is more engaged media education, which can play a role in helping young people to put media violence into perspective
Media and Rural Development

• communication essential for development

• media can create a sense of involvement, participation and cooperation among the people

• in less developed parts, including Nepal, communication is constrained by economic, educational and demographic factors

• in Nepal, because of its low literacy status, broadcast media are of greater importance

• a coordinated media strategy, involving old and new media, could be useful for Nepal

• making proper use of communication facilities, and policies, we can employ media to be a catalyst for development of Nepal’s rural areas

• Mexico and India have experimented with the media mobilization programmes for development

• not always the magic potion, though

Using Television in Education

• various countries have educational broadcasting systems

• they aim to combat illiteracy, and advise rural people in public health, agriculture, and other social and practical subjects

• Japan, England, and the US have educational broadcasting systems

• NHK has two televisions and AM radio services devoted wholly to education

• in India, TV was introduced primarily to exploit the medium for distance education

• various Doordarshan centers transmit educational programs for primary and secondary school classes
• a UNESCO evaluation found that the TV education was useful as an ‘aid to the teaching of science subjects’

• Doordarshan devotes at least 10 per cent of its telecast time to educational or enrichment programs for school children, youth, farmers and other groups

• Nepal Television has the motto: Communication for Development

• there are few programs devoted to education

• TV reach may be there, but not many people own sets in rural areas—and there is electricity problem

• only a good planning and implementation can help in this area

Review of Earlier Classes and Left-outs
The Marketing Mix
it consists of four P’s: product (goods and services), price (of the product or service), place (the target consumers) and promotion (activities to communicate the merit of products or services)
the new integrated marketing communication (IMC) hybrid, with elements of PR, advertising and marketing, emerged in the 1990s. The idea is to use any and all means to make a product part of targeted consumer’s mindset. (Vivian)
in marketing terms, a newspaper is also a ‘product’. When developing products, marketers first must identify the core consumer needs the products will satisfy. They must then design the actual product and find ways to augment it in order to create the bundle of benefits that will best satisfy consumers.
we mainly looked at Ad and PR as special forms of communication. The idea in both is to get the message across.
so what are the options for getting the message across for an organization?

• paid for. Examples- space advertising, direct marketing, promotions, and competitions. Advantages. You control the message, decide the timing, and can be sure what went out. Disadvantages. Cannot be sure if will get read, may be disbelieved because it is you information

• free. Examples- media publicity. Advantages. Costs nothing, believable to the market, can be very effective. Disadvantages. You lose control of the message, takes a long time to organize, you may end up with nothing

how to write the message—the process checklist

• discuss what it is you are to write, why, and what you hope to achieve as a result

• make a list of all those who need to check your copy, keeping it as short as possible

• do the research-find out more about the topic/product/event you are to write about, read publications read by the market, find out what else they receive, talk to members of the market if that is possible

• start thinking about your message

• make notes on your key themes

• think about the structure of what you will write
• is the planned format the most sensible way of getting the message across? Can you think of a better solution?

• think

• write your copy from memory

• recheck against your notes to ensure you have included the main messages

• leave your text for several days (or at least overnight) before circulating it to those who must check it

• try to distinguish between changes that need making and those that must be discussed. Negotiate

Checklist for producing a newsletter

• why am I writing a newsletter?
• what do we want to get out of it?

• what is the long-term commitment to the project?

• how often will it appear?

• for how long?

• how will it be judged a success or a failure?

• who will be running this project?
• do they have the resources that they need (time, budget, talent, etc)?

• who am I writing to?
• what kind of people, reading in what kind of circumstances?

• what kind of style and tone is appropriate to this group?

• what initial/lasting impression do I want to make?

• do I want feedback, and if so how will this be managed?

• who else is writing for this market and how?

• what should it look like?
• what is the most suitable format (e.g. print or email, number of colors, quality of images)?

• how much should I write?

• what illustrations are available?

• who else can I get to contribute?

• what is the schedule of production?
• when does the market need to have it in their hands? (work back from this date.)

• are there any critical external constraints, e.g. must be received by the end of term?

• am I allowing too much time or too little time?

• who has to check it, and how long should I allow for this?

Checklist for writing a press release

• do I need a press release?
• have I got anything interesting to say?

• would an individual approach be more successful?

• what story do I have to tell?
• any individual tales that prove the point?

• any statistics that support my case?

• any third-party anecdotes/trends on the same theme?

• how can I get over the story in a nutshell?
• the who, what, where, when, and why for the first paragraph?

• what headline can I use to draw the reader in?

• what supporting themes can I develop to sustain interest?

• what follow-up action can I suggest (e.g. photo opportunity or interview)?

• basic things to check before sending out a press release.
• is it clear who sent it?

• is the contact information correct (check all numbers given)?

• is it visually varied and attractive to look at?

• would I read it myself if it were in my post?

How to develop media relations

• be frank and honest. Don’t be evasive.

• always be available to the press

• don’t combine news releases and orders for advertising

• don’t overplay the company info, or color the facts

• always assume that you will be quoted and be careful and accurate when making statements

• avoid ‘off the record’ statements, but, if necessary, clearly label them as ‘not for publication’

• don’t discriminate or play favorites with the press

• don’t complain of minor misprints or errors. Don’t mislead a reporter, if you can’t talk, say so

• don’t condemn the editor when a story is left out of the paper. don’t go over a reporter’s head to his /her superior with a complaint

• anticipate a newsperson’s interest and have the facts ready in advance

• be helpful with bad news as well as good

How to organize a press conference (you have the notes, I guess)
Some Ad, PR Perspectives
PR perspectives:

• a special type of communication process. PR specialists senders, encode messages and send to organization’s publics

• a special kind of profession: public interest professionals, just like ad agencies, they have firms to present information in a favorable manner—organized, staffed and funded activity, a specialized body of knowledge, skills, methods

• a part of a promotional mix— marketing concept
• a knowledge discipline itself—fairly institutionalized


• PR is engineering of consent (E.L. Barneys)

• deliberate, planned, sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between organization and its publics (Institute of Public Relations)


• social mgmt philosophy – interest of people first

• an expression of that philosophy in policy decisions – policies to define course of action

• it is action resulting from these policies – doing, not just saying

• a two way process of communication—contributes toward creation of policies, then explains, defends or promotes them to the public to secure mutual understanding

Scope and Importance of PR
as a management function, PR encompasses:

• anticipating, analyzing, interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact operations and plans of organizations

• counseling mgmt at all levels in orgnization with regard to policy decisions, courses of action, and communications

• researching, conducting, and evaluating on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding in marketing, financial, fund raising, employee, community relations etc

• planning and implementing the organizations efforts to influence or change public policy. Setting objectives, planning, budgeting, recruiting and training staff

PR’s role in organization

• building a strong sense of corporate identity

• overcoming misconceptions and prejudices, which the publics might have against the organization

• promoting understanding of the organization and activities including its products and services with both internal and external publics

• attracting and retaining key personnel

• projecting a good sense of social responsibility

PR and Its Value to Public

• means for the public to have its desires and interests felt by the institutions in our society

• means to achieve mutual adjustment between institutions and groups

• safety valve for freedom—makes arbitrary action and coercion less likely

• informs people on many aspects of the subject

• activates organization’s social conscience

• universal- functions in all aspects of life. Each member does PR to seek acceptance, cooperation and affection

PR and Political Communication

• both believe in the ultimate authority of people

• both concerned about public opinion

• political communication—aims to bring about favorable change in public opinion sometimes by persuading them through welfare state policies and sometimes regulations about the conduct of people and public officials

• has a role in constructing beliefs, values, expectations and political leadership

The Public Opinion

• opinion of special publics

• hard to measure—human nature, gender, age, culture, religion, language, profession, educational background, nationality etc involved

• because of differences in exposure, attention, perception and retention, people experience the same events in different ways

• small groups are key factors in public opinion

• opinions are commonly group opinions. But they change over time. Since no one is born with opinions they can be engineered. There are theories that believe public opinions can be changed

• organizations should take stock of public opinions because they make or mar them. Modern PR has evolved with business people trying to win the hearts and minds of people

The publics—the ultimate authority
Jefkins (97):

• the community

• potential employees

• employees

• suppliers of services and materials

• the money market

• distributors
• consumers and users

• opinion leaders

• some writers also include the media as publics. PR practitioners must identify their publics

Universe of PR

• all fields in the society

• marketing communications

• consumer relations

• media relations

• opinion leaders

• financial community

• stockholders

• industry relations

• employee relations

• international publics

• public affairs

• government relations

• political relations

• minority relations

• community relations

Characteristics of PR

• involves organizations—only some individuals, politicians, actors, musicians are exceptions

• systematic

• purposive—planned, have purposes

• continuous—not a single event

• interactive


• inform the public—e.g. pre-game press releases

• persuade people to change beliefs

• create and maintain understanding

Functions (tools of PR aim to achieve these)

• publicity—public notice or technique to secure it

• promotion—activities or events to secure support or endorsement of a person, product, institution and idea

• press agentry—favourable press coverage

• lobbying-- legislators

PR functions by type of organization

• government//political organizations--- political PR, fund-raising, crisis mgmt, event coordination

• interest groups--- political PR, fund-raising, lobbying, event coordination

• for-profit organizations—lobbying, crisis mgmt, financial PR, event coordination

• non-profit organizations – fund raising, event coordination, lobbying, crisis mgmt

To achieve all these,

• programming—analyzing problems and opportunities, defining goals, determining the public, recommending and planning activities

• writing and editing—press releases, speeches, stockholder reports, product information, employee publications

• placing info—in the most effective way

• organizing special events—press functions, award programmes, exhibits and displays

• setting up face to face communication, including preparation and delivery of speeches

• providing research and evaluation using interviews, reference materials, various surveys

• managing resources—planning, budgeting and recruiting and training staff

a PR perspective we discussed in the class (just a reminder)

• as competition increases, the news media industry has to adopt new strategies for survival.

let’s look at newspapers as an example,

• they are laying off journalists, and cutting costs, but at the same time increasing pagination, supplements and sections to attract more readers and advertisers

• how can fewer journalists with reduced resources produce bigger newspapers ?

• to fill the increasingly gaping news hole -- journalists accept news subsidies from public relations professionals as a substitute for their own independent journalistic enquiries

• this process imposes changes in journalists’ working practices, revises editorial priorities and reduces markedly both the independence and the integrity of journalism.

• the fourth estate risks being overwhelmed by the fifth estate of public relations

• the manufacture of news relies on inputs from individuals and organizations outside the news organization

• their cooperation and participation is the outcome of negotiations and bargains struck implicitly or explicitly between them and journalists.

• they are the news sources on which all journalists rely for their livelihood.

• the relationship between the two groups is complex, shifts across time and particular settings

• PR is becoming one of the two “primary conveyor belts” (the other being news agencies) feeding the assembly line in the news factory” with the “raw materials” which journalists use to construct the national news.

• rapid growth in public relations across the 1990s has impacted on journalists’ news room practice, transforming them into mere processors rather than originators of news.

• critics call it:‘churnalism’, ‘McJournalism’

who leads the merry dance?

• dance metaphor -- cooperative, but not necessarily equal, character of relationships between journalists and sources

• “It takes two to tango,” Gans suggests, but “sources usually lead”

• which partner becomes dominant and ‘leads’ varies at different stages in the cycle of news gathering and reporting

a “love-hate relationship”

• “getting too close” to sources offends a key professional principle, and risks blunting journalists’ critical edge transforming the journalistic watchdog into a public relations lapdog

• “politicians employ an entire industry often using public money, to present themselves as favorably as possible”

• PR practitioners offer a form of subsidy to news organizations via press releases, press conferences, vnRs (video news Release), press briefings and lobbying.

• news subsidies offer the prospect of not merely “cheap news” but “free news”

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What experts say about status of Press Freedom after the 2006 Movement ?

We have interviewed some experts on what they think about the status of Press Freedom in Nepal after 2006 Movement. We are specially thankful to :
Professor P Kharel, President, Nepal Press Institute
Ram Krishna Regmi, Professor, Kantipur City College
Rajendra Dahal, Senior Journalist, Press Advisor of President
Bishnu Nishthuri, President AJA Nepal, Former President FNJ
Guna Raj Luitel, Associate Editor, Nagarik Daily
Shreeram Singh Basnet, Chief Editor, RSS

Legal provision allowing FMs to broadcast news freely
Constitutional guarantee for press freedom; no restriction. (In past there used to be restriction as “you shouldn’t write on Royal Family” etc.)
Establishment of High Level Media Commission, provision of implementing Working Journalist Act, Permanent Information Commission, activation of Press Council, simplification on discerning and renewal of radio, out numbered T V channels etc
Increase of trained professionals
Editors' sphere of autonomy not disturbed
Decreasing tendency of political biasness

Obstructing Forces
Sister organizations of major political parties, mainly organizations of party-affiliated journalists like Press Union and Press Chautari.
Militant groups (especially in Terai belt)
Advertisers’ influence over media
Impunity, political biasness

Responsibility and obstructions
Party interest influence in pro-govt. media and Press Council.
Provision of government fund to party journalism.
Commercial view point: profit prior to service.
Crime, politics and glamour dominating social and development issues.
FMs generally depend upon newspapers, rarely attribute sources.
Advertisers’ influence: the major obstruction for responsibility is media persons' fear of advertisers.
In overall, Broadsheets more responsible than tabloids

The Code of Conduct for Journalists by Press Council is still not comprehensive.
Political affiliation of journalists obstructs fairness, objectivity and responsibility.
Popular weeklies known to be mouthpieces political parties.
Cases of abductions, murders of mediapersons.
Impunity and self-censorship.
No proper execution of laws and orders.
Political instability suffers media.

Effects to be taken
Constitutional guarantees in a proper way on upcoming constitution.
Impunity should be discouraged.
Depoliticization of media professional organizations.
Depoliticization in pro-governmental media and Press Council.
Freedom of media professional organizations from pro-government economic influence.
Political stability, and commitments.
Responsibility: from the side of media and journalists
Formation or amendment of necessary laws and effective implementation of them.
Local media should give priority to local issues.
Professional competition among media.

To conclude

Press and Loktantra have been two sides of a same coin. If press is weak, Loktantra is weak; and vice versa.
Politicians need to express their commitments and act accordingly for free and responsible press.
Politicians need to take advices from genuine experts before taking any decisions on press issues.
Loktantrik Aandolan focused more on political changes than in media sector.
Nepali media today is the freest in South Asia, but ironically it is least professional.
Overall the situation is on the way of improvements; and our future in the sector is better.

(The major part of a presentation by Sagarmatha College BA 2nd year students at a seminar held on 15 August.)

Threats to journalists and media in the last two months

Chairperson of Tulsipur FM (100.2 MHz), Devi Prasad Dhital ‘Hemraj ‘was shot dead by an unidentified group on July 22 in Dang.
Pramod Sah, the director of Radio Janakpur, was thrashed and injured by an unidentified gang at his residence in Janakpur onJuly 18.
The continuous threats issued to Nepalgunj Bureau Chief of Kantipur National Daily, J Pandey by Terai Janatantrik Party-Madhesh in Banke over the issue of news coverage. Journalist Pandey was repeatedly threatened of taking his life through phone calls and press conference over the news coverage entitled 'Five workers abducted' in July 7 edition of Kantipur.
Activists of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN—Maoist) vandalized the office of the far western Dhangadi-based Sudursandesh daily on July 5 for allegedly publishing anti-Maoist materials.

Keshav Bohora, a Nepalese radio journalist working with Radio Mandavi, Pyuthan was released on July 1 after more than 30 hours abduction by an unidentified gang reportedly for the news coverage on land dispute.
Murari Prasad Pokharel, District Forest Officer (DFO), of Sindhupalchok abused several journalists on June 27, for their coverage of a news.  He was allegedly involved in releasing Chinese national, who was arrested with red sandalwood and orchids and was released by the District Court on a mere fine of Rs. 15,000.  
Holding one thousand metric tones of newsprint imported by the Kantipur Publication at Kolkata port of India for the 26 days by Indian authorities.
Two unidentified armed men on June 14 attempted to shoot Mohan Gole, Udayapur correspondent of Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS), at Hariharpur in Dhanusha. According to the police, unidentified assailants opened fire on him while he was riding his motorcycle but one of the shots hit the visor of his helmet while another missed him completely. 
(Collected from, official website of Freedom Forum)

Status of Press Freedom in Nepal after Janaandolan II

“The legal environment in Nepal for the press has improved significantly since the April 2006 uprising, and several restrictive measures were repealed shortly after Parliament was restored. The interim constitution provides for press freedom and specifically prohibits censorship, although these rules can be suspended during an emergency. Authorities are barred from closing or cancelling the registrations of media outlets due to content.”- Freedom House
>Our Score on Freedom
Overall Freedom
Freedom House measures Freedom in Nepal as “Partly Free”. Nepal has scored 4 on both Political Rights and Civil Liberties, while 1 representing the highest level of freedom and 7 representing the lowest level of freedom. (2010)

Press Freedom
Freedom House measures Freedom of the Press in Nepal as “Partly Free” with total score of 57, while 0 means the best and 100 means the worst. (2009)
Freedom House evaluates…
The law guarantees freedom of the press, and Nepalese media were active and provided diverse views in 2008, but a number of threats to media freedom remain.
While the 2007 Freedom of Information Act (FIA) has generally been met with enthusiasm by press freedom groups, there were several reports in 2008 of journalists being denied access to government information.
The FNJ reported 342 press freedom violations in 2008, and noted a rise in the number of attacks on journalists that went unpunished. Supporters of political parties regularly threatened or attacked critical journalists.
The International Press Institute reported 63 instances of press violations in the two months prior to CA elections. Journalists were denied transportation permits to cover certain election events, and security officials reportedly threatened local media groups for reporting on election-related violence. In several cases, activists with the Young Communist League (YCL), which is affiliated with then Communist Party of Nepal–Maoist (CPN-M), threatened or attacked journalists for publishing negative stories about their party. In one case, CPN-M supporters in Kaski kidnapped a journalist following critical coverage. Other political parties and the Armed Police Force were also responsible for violence and intimidation during the campaign.
The southern Terai region remained a hostile environment for journalists.

(The first part of the presentation by Sagarmatha College BA 2nd year students at a seminar held on 14 August).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The beginning

Ok, the blog is begun now.
We, the students of Sagarmath Collge studying journalism, had been thinkning of creating a group blog since some months. Today, we made it!
In this blog you can share your ideas concerning many issues surrounding media and discuss on the ideas presented. This is the blog, created by few; but this is the blog, created for all of you. Please feel easier to comment on our contents and suggest further.

Representing the team,
Diwakar Pyakurel