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22 April, 2010

Nepal Maoists take lessons on media handling, plan to launch TV station

Nepal's Maoists plan to launch their own television channel and a national broadsheet daily to disseminate "correct information" about the party.

Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai presented a concept paper in this regard during a training session at the party headquarters, Paris Danda, last Sunday, according to the website of Republica, which describes itself as “a team of professional management and journalists — one of the best in the Nepali media”.

Maoists have already formed two committees – editorial led by Dr Bhattarai and managerial by Dinanath Sharma -- to study if a television channel will also be viable.

According to a participant in the training session, the party has classified the Maoist publications into three categories -- central, regional and local. "While the central publications will be directly monitored by the party's top body, the regional and local publications will be handled by the corresponding committees," he said.

He added that the party took the decision as various publication houses have been found collecting advertisements in the name of the party. He hoped the new move would discourage the trend.

The meeting categorized Janadisha daily, Janadesh weekly, Red Star fortnightly and Samsleshan monthly as central publications under the direct monitoring of the party.

"Perhaps the tabloid-sized Janadisha daily will be converted into a broadsheet daily and Janadisha weekly into a magazine," he said.

Journalists Prashanta Jha, Tirtha Koirala, Raghu Mainali, Krishna Jwala Devkota and Narayan Sharma trained Maoist leaders on handling of the media.

Jha dwelt on effective dissemination of information in the international arena, Koirala on the relationship between leaders and media houses, Mainali on professionalism and management and Devkota on advocating the rights of the proletariat.

Speaking at the training session, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal directed the revolutionary journalists to ask people to hit the streets for the promulgation of the people's constitution.

"This month, just ahead of constitution-drafting, is crucial for Nepali people. So you have to ask people to hit the streets," a participant quoted Dahal as saying.

Dahal presented two possible scenarios amidst the looming crisis: "They will either dissolve the Constituent Assembly and enforce presidential rule, or ask us for the CA deadline. But the constitution will not be promulgated as they just want to adopt the 1990 constitution and we will not agree. So there is no alternative to hitting the streets," Dahal said. He argued that the constitution would be drafted only if the people took to the streets.

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