Re-Evaluation of Nepali Media, Social Networking Spaces, and Democratic Practices in Media

Re-Evaluation of Nepali Media, Social Networking Spaces, and Democratic Practices in Media

Dilli Bikram Edingo (University of Guelph, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4757-2.ch015
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Abstract

This chapter first analyzes the Nepali mainstream media and social media’s effect upon its relationships with audiences or news-receivers. Then, it explores how social media is a virtual space for creating democratic forums in order to generate news, share among Networked Knowledge Communities (NKCs), and disseminate across the globe. It further examines how social media can embody a collective voice of indigenous and marginalized people, how it can better democratize mainstream media, and how it works as an alternative media. As a result of the impact of the Internet upon the Nepali society and the Nepali mainstream media, the traditional class stratifications in Nepal have been changed, and the previously marginalized and disadvantaged indigenous peoples have also begun to be empowered in the new ways brought about by digital technology. Social networking spaces engage the common people—those who are not in power, marginalized and disadvantaged, dominated, and excluded from opportunities, mainstream media, and state mechanisms—democratically in emic interactions in order to produce first-hand news about themselves from their own perspectives. Moreover, Nepali journalists frequently visit social media as a reliable source of information. The majority of common people in Nepal use social networking sites as a forum to express their collective voice and also as a tool or medium to correct any misrepresentation in the mainstream media. Social media and the Nepali mainstream media converge on the greater issues of national interest, whereas the marginalized and/or indigenous peoples of Nepal use the former as a space that embodies their denial of discriminatory news in the latter.
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Hegemonic Class Hierarchies And Media Bias

Media prejudice that ensued from the traditional class hierarchy can still be seen in Nepal despite the fact that the nation embarked on the republican set up in 2007. From the very inception of modern Nepal in the eighteenth century, Hindu ideology remained as the state ideology until the People’s Revolution-1990, and Hindu male elites remained dominant in all the state-mechanisms (Gurung, 2007; Hangen, 2007), including the Nepali media. As the Nepali media industry is still beyond inclusive, participatory, and democratic practices, there prevails a media bias in Nepal against the indigenous ethnic communities and women who have a nominal access to the media industry. Though the Constitution-1990 and the Interim Constitution-2007 of Nepal have approved media as the fourth powerful institution, the Nepali mainstream media has not been fully able to serve the citizens impartially because it is vulnerable to influences of the hegemonic class interests, party-politics, and ideological inclinations.

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