Sunday, March 20, 2005

Nepali Times: Managing To Stay In Print

Nepali Times, the paper, has always had this tilt to it, this spice. I have been curious to know how they have been reacting to the curbed press freedom. Looks like they are managing to be colorful.

At Nepali Times
  • Deuba’s democratic delusions .... Deuba, the twice dismissed, used a post-release press meet to lash out at the media ..... it wasn’t the message so much as the method of delivery: he was frothing and fuming and had to be restrained by colleagues .... symptoms of cognitive dissonance .... an extreme condition of conflict or anxiety resulting from inconsistency between one’s beliefs and one’s actions such as opposing authoritarianism but assisting in its entrenchment ...... He wilfully let the tenure of local units lapse, he dissolved parliament, declared the first emergency, censored the press and mobilised the army to fight the insurgency.... people in the 50-plus age group suddenly found after 1990 that they had unfettered freedom to make mistakes ..... Deuba’s closest parallel in this affliction is Haiti’s Baby Doc Duvalier. At the height of his delusion, Baby Doc put up posters in Port au Prince that read: ‘I should like to stand before the tribunal of history as the person who irreversibly founded democracy in Haiti (signed) Jean-Claude Duvalier, president-for-life.’
  • The middle ground The Washington demonstration followed meetings held by a group of prominent Nepali intellectuals at the offices of American senators...... The sooner the myth that opposition towards failed political leaders (and the Maoists) translates into unconditional support for the king is dispensed with, the sooner we are likely to experience concrete results on the ground in Nepal.
  • When you’re a poor country The Pan Parag ban is really going to hurt. .... (Based on a secret poll by Wolfensohn and Associates, 50 percent of the World Bank staff thought poverty meant flying Business Class instead of First. The remaining 50 percent thought subsidised food in the World Bank Cafeteria was one of the most successful poverty reduction moves by the Bank in the last 50 years.)
  • “The real issue is about security vs terrorism” Zamir Akram, Pakistani ambassador ..... the two countries share similar challenges like having large and powerful neighbours .... he has misgivings about the strong rhetoric coming from the international community. “This level of comment has taken place in other countries but they should be unacceptable for any sovereign country” ...... the justification used for King Gyanendra’s February First move is similar to those used by General Musharaff when he seized power in 1999: that the political parties had made a mess of things and someone had to step in to set things right. ..... will be heading the foreign policy desk at the prime minister’s office in Islamabad.
  • Deuba blames messengers “I warned you that a time would come when there would be censorship but you didn’t listen did you?” said the visibly angry Deuba. “Today I am deliberately toning down my words so it will be possible for you to publish them.” “In my time, you criticised me, wrote nonsense against me, blasted me, can you do that now? All you can report is jindabad this and jindabad that.” “I am a person who wants the best for monarchy. I want democracy to work with monarchy. But you always called me a palace puppet, didn’t you say such nonsensical things?” He said he told the king: “I am not the problem, why should I resign?” “What the army said, I did, I increased the defence budget, bought four helicopters, recruited 11,000 soldiers. And the king does this after the army had been strengthened and if it hadn’t been strengthened, Maoist violence would have escalated.” “Publish what I’ve said and I’ll consider you all bahadurs.”
  • Which Congress He will become a NC member of Lalitpur district’s constituency number one convention, which takes place this week. Bhattarai himself decided to be the member of the Mahasamiti after a delegation of the NC-D met the octogenarian leader.
  • "Even small countries have pride" And all the people desire is for someone to deliver them peace. As the head of state the king can’t keep quiet and do nothing for the people..... If the Panchayat system were still in place, would we be seeing this crisis? Yes but the level of violence would not be as intense..... Fundamental rights are important. But these unlawful groups are misusing such rights. .... If you received an offer would you accept it? I will not back down if the nation feels my need.
  • Tulsi Giri speaks out It’s not about what I want. It’s the king who wants certain things ..... Were you aware that the February First move was being planned? No. .... everyone should pull in one direction and those who are on the path of terrorism should abandon it ..... They can’t accuse the king of not giving them a chance. .... Terrorist tactics work best when governments are weak and in Nepal the past 15 years is proof. ..... Are there any moves towards negotiations? Not by me. But if they’re ready, we are ready. There has been a lot of criticism from outside the country and talk of aid cuts. That is a natural reaction based on their political ideology. But in state-to-state relations there are other issues. They haven’t cut off aid, some countries have suspended it and this can be lifted through negotiations. In the age of globalisation there is interdependence but you can’t force any country to do anything. It just doesn’t work. The people have misgiving that pillars of the Panchayat like you and Mr Bista have been brought back. How can I help it if people have misgivings? I have clear instructions from the king about what I have to do. If you start listening to people who have misgivings you don’t get anywhere. Why did you give up on Nepal and live abroad for so long? Again, you’re asking a personal question and I can only say I had personal reasons. Were you frustrated with Nepali politics? Maybe at that time I was frustrated, not just with Nepali politics but with politics in general. ...... The king is trying to rescue the country. I want to assure you that there are no political ambitions behind the king’s move.
  • Party Nepal February First has presented Nepal’s political parties with the chance to moult..... the political leadership had stagnated, they lacked internal democracy, exhibited a shameless inability to work together not just among parties but also within their own hierarchies. Too preoccupied with power struggles, they didn’t see how far astray they had gone. This allowed outsiders, especially after October 2002, to play politicos off against each other and manipulate them..... horse-trading and floor-crossing, boycotts of parliament, politicisation of the police and bureaucracy, the cynical undermining of the democratic process for short-term partisan gain.... Adolescent democracies everywhere are rambunctious and noisy. The difference in Nepal was that politicians were not even fighting for seats at the dinner table, they were scrambling on the floor for crumbs.
  • Tarai .... madhesis needed visas to travel to their own capital

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