KATHMANDU, AUGUST 6: Writers and rights activists have raised questions on why Dalit issues have not got proper space in Nepali media.
While speaking at a dialogue with writers on ‘Dalit issues in Nepali media’ organized by Jagaran Media Centre on Friday, most of the writers and activists have said Nepali media have not given proper space for Dalit issues in the last few years.
In the month of Jestha of Nepali calendar 2079 BS, among the total 395 articles published in the opinion pages of the five national dailies 307 were from the Brahmin Chhetri community which accounts for 77. 72 percent while only 11 were from Dalit community which is just 2.78 percent.
Writer and editor Rajendra Maharjan said it’s a very challenging job for Dalits and non-Dalits on caste system and Dalit issues. He said there is a need to do some groundwork to encourage and attract writers and a new generation to write on caste system and Dalit issues.
Presenting his working paper at the function Maharjan stressed that the existing writers could sustain in their profession by polishing their writing skills and providing deep knowledge on their topics.
The state and the market-based media should think of encouraging the journalists, writers, and scholars from the communities having less representation at present.
Speaking at the function Dalit leader and writer Parshuram Ramtel more articles should be published on contemporary Dalit issues. He said such progressive write-ups should interfere and create pressure on society against the existing inhumane discrimination.
Another writer and Dalit leader Ganesh Bishwokarma said there was no encouragement from the intellectual community to write on Dalit issues. He said the issues of the poor and citizens fighting against poverty should get space in the media.
Writer and lecturer of Tribhuvan University Dr. Tara Lal Shrestha said even capable people have to face suppression if they raise the issues of Janatati and Dalits. He said he has been advocating for Dalit liberation and their political and social rights in his articles and books.
While writer Dhan Kumari Sunar said the physical presence of Dalits in media is a must to ensure better coverage. Writer and Human Rights activist Sushil Bishwokarma said there are many agendas in the Dalit community besides caste-based discrimination and untouchability which needs to be explored. He further said writers should study a lot and translate from different languages, which is lacking in Nepal.
Another writer and researcher JB Bishwokarma says there are lots of possibilities if the writers work hard and produce quality articles. “In some cases the articles of non-Dalit writers were more qualitative than that of Dalit writers,” he said. “There is a need for encouragement to the writers who produce quality works.”
Addressing the function chairperson of the Jagaran Media Centre, Kamal Bishwokarma said Dalit issues need prominent space in the media and she requested both the writers from Dalits and non-Dalit communities to raise their voices on Dalit issues strongly.
However, some writers and journalists including Gokarna Bhatta, Shiva Hari Gyawali, Ghambar Nepali, Dinesh Pantha, Arjun Bishworkarma, Santosh Pariyar, and Keshav Bhul said the articles and news on Dalit issues need to be prioritized. They, however, said the Dalit issues could also be disseminated to a broader audience through alternative online news portals and social media even if mainstream media ignored them.