On Tuesday, social media went ablaze – as is protocol, so did the mainstream media.
Heavyweight names, whom were in attendance of the Monday’s movement began to drop – and one video in particular, of Narayan Wagle, Nepal’s renowned author and the winner of a Madan Puraskar, reeling under the pressure of the projected water from the canon became viral.
Many, including the mainstream media, were quick to highlight the stark contrast of Nepal Police’s slogan, ‘Nepal Police – My Friend’ and their highhandedness.
However, reflecting further, hasn’t Nepal Police always been unfriendly?
Just a few days ago, select media outlets were reporting about the police’s atrocity – there wasn’t an equal outcry then?
Why the difference?
Because then it was the minority – the abandoned transwomen, and on Monday it was the mainstream Nepalis?
Or because highlighting the state’s autocracy forms a better narrative to sell than the transwomen’s plight?
The mainstream media is quick to jump onto the moral high ground bandwagon when it comes to exposing the state’s autocracy – but when it comes to issues on advocating for social equality, the slice of mediascape is significantly less.
And that is particularly important because Nepal’s major population consumes mainstream media (especially Nepali language publications) on a regular basis. According to Alexa’s ranking, the top 6 sites of Nepal are Google, YouTube, Online Khabar, Facebook, Ekantipur and RatoPati. Going further down the list, from the top 20, more than 50% of the sites are news portal – that means we can fairly assume the amount of time Nepalis are spending on news sites is significant.
This now raises the question of content – are they caste, religion, and gender inclusive? If they are, how could they have missed the Nepal Police’s atrocity on transwomen just a few days back?
In a traditional newsroom, the editorial team is entrusted with the task of the content – with the editor-in-chief at the helm. The question of missing the content raises the issue of unequal representation within the news room.
Do these newsrooms have enough women who wish to advocate for gender equality; minorities, who wish to advocate for equality?
How are we to pursue equality if the information we receive are being fed by unequal newsrooms?