On Nepali Television


COMPARED to print media, the history of visual electronic media has not long history. Nepal Television that came into being some 25 years ago is the first television of the country. These days, with the boom of technology, the TV channels are mushrooming day by day and are becoming popular among the audiences. TV journalism has fascinated a lot of young people. But many are not aware about how TV began its broadcasting at a time when there were technical, political and financial constraints to establish and run it.

Nepali Television, the book under review, offers details about the history, development and practices of televisions operating in Nepal. The book minutely analyses the past and present trend in television journalism. Altogether 13 writers, mostly the TV journalists, have contributed in the book. It has been divided into five sections under the heading of history, news, tele film, documentary and inclusiveness in televisions.

In `Weighing Television Culture in Nepal', researcher Shekhar Parajuli presents a comprehensive picture of TV journalism with focus on its history, structure, impact and audiences' interest. It is basically an introductory part that tries to sum up the whole book.

He has divided TV media into two parts — informative and entertainment. The first one includes news, talk show and magazine show while the.. second part encompasses telefilms/ teleserials, song/music, and game show/talent show.

Shedding light on its impact on the Nepalese society, Parajuli writes: `With the increase in the number of TV cannels, they have brought with diversity in the programmes and the audiences have benefited from them. However, there are two kinds of peoples — pessimist and optimists. Pessimists pay attention on the production and quality of  programmes. They think that TV cannot be a public forum because of commercial interest. On the other, optimists concentrate on the interest of audiences. Competition among the TV channels brings diversity. As a result, they give priority to moral and political programmes. A conscious viewer evaluate the programmes and accept only good ones, argue the optimist."

In the articles of Durganath Sharma, Madan Kumar Sharma and Rama Singh, all of them associated with Nepal Television, the readers know how NTV was launched and how it struggled to come a long way. According to them, the NTV was established to check the cultural invasion from the Indian serials and use as a means of propaganda in favour of monarchy and party less Panchayat system. Rama Singh, who is a first newsreader of NTV, recounts that the then members of Rastriya Panchayat were against the idea of establishing the TV station in Nepal. "These members, who had not access to TV, viewed that TV was a means of luxury and the Nepalese people could not afford for them," writes Singh.

The NTV began to broadcast from Paush 14, 2042 BS and witnessed three different regimes — Panchayat, multi party democracy and republic but editorial freedom in the newsroom was a far cry. It continues to face censorship and self censorship. The NTV journalists had difficult time during the Panchayat regime. However, situation could not improve even during the new political set up. The people in power continue to misuse the NTV only to force the audience to shift towards the private channels. Despite this, the state owned TV has )een able to sustain its credibility and popularity among the audiences hrough its authentic news and healthy .ntertainment programmes. In his write up, Durganath Sharma writes: The NTV can't develop commercially ,f it continues to remain under the overnment's control."

In 'News in Private TV Channels,'Jagat Nepal talks about private TV channels. His article recounts the traumatic experiences the journalists underwent during the rule of king Gyanendra. He said that the private channels had given alternative to the ~audiences but they are facing problems such as commercial interests, unskilled or semi skilled manpower and stiff competition. Journalist Raju Silwal has highlighted the status of sport beat in the NTV while Laya Prasad Sangraula and Deepak Rauniyar touched on the telefilms and comedies in the Nepalese TV channels. Rauniyar says that the comedies aired by the Nepalese channels have become cheap and ridiculed women, Madhesi and dalit community. Chakraman Biswokarama and Jaya Prakash Chaudhari described about the inclusiveness of dalit and language in the TV channels. Likewise, the articles of Tank Upreti, Deepa Gautam and Ramita Maharjan shed light on the different dimensions of TV journalism.

The book is informative and offers perspective about the origin and development of television media in Nepal. The book is useful for students of TV journalism and common readers as well. It adds a new dimension in the literature of journalism in Nepal.

The Rising Nepal (Supplement), 22 May 2009, p. III

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