The Chinese people want anyone landing in China to have at least the basic communicative skills of the Chinese language. When the people of the world are giving much emphasis to the protection and usage of their own language, we are making a fuss over the English language, targeting people who have poor knowledge of it
Journalism, the fourth organ of the state, plays a significant role in disseminating news and views happening in the society.
The dissemination of such information is basically done through the electronic and print media. The news that we hear, read and watch, however, needs to be scrutinised before it is published or aired in order to maintain good rapport between the media and people.
Some time ago, a popular female model was seen crying over the issue of the English language. Many friends I am connected with on Tweeter posted the video of about 30 seconds, in which the model was responding to questions raised by a journalist.
One of the questions barraged at her was about her strength of the English language.
Responding to the question, she said, 'I live in Nepal and I eat rice produced on Nepali soil, I do not eat English.' She even said that she was neither good at English nor had she gotten a chance to attend an English-medium school.
Knowing English is not everything for someone whose first language is not English. And it's not mandatory for everyone to learn English as it depends on the necessity, wish and aspiration of the person.
A typical experience that my father underwent during his transit in Guangzhou, China, two years ago is worth mentioning here.
None of the Chinese he requested to address his queries had responded in the English language.
The Chinese people want anyone landing in China to have at least the basic communicative skills of the Chinese language.
When the people of the world are giving much emphasis to the protection and usage of their own language, we are making a fuss over the English language, targeting people who have poor knowledge of it.
Another incident that was broadcast on the social media recently involved a teacher teaching science and mathematics in a rural area in Nepal. She was intentionally humiliated when asked to spell the word 'science', the subject that she was teaching.
Knowledge of the subject matter as its teacher cannot be undermined, however, the way the teacher was asked to spell the word 'science' was to make her feel down.
There could be many teachers with similar problems not only in the rural areas but also in urban areas despite having years of teaching experience. Could the questioner, who asked her the spelling of the word, have made sure that a teacher teaching Social Studies in a rural area knew about the provision of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution promulgated in 2015? English, for instance, has a similar problem, the subject which is still regarded as a tough one in rural Nepal.
I remember some of my teachers who taught us at the primary level teaching subjects without explaining the concept of the topics to be covered.
They preferred going line by line of the subject matter because they neither had a chance to undergo training nor an opportunity to excel through search engines that we are blessed with today. Some of the skills I was taught have had far-reaching impact on me even today.
Knowledge of multiplication and division, for instance, is the result of the class that was conducted in the last period before the school was over. We, irrespective of the grades we belonged to, would be kept in a circle and asked to repeat after the teacher.
The practice of doing so helped us do calculations without using a calculator, a must have possession for the students pursuing their studies today.
Some TV journalists interviewing actors of the Nepali film fraternity tend to ask questions that they are not comfortable with. The ethics of interviewing is that questions be posed to the interviewee in which one is prepared for. That is why, a good journalist sends questions to the interviewee to be asked before the interview takes place.
The tendency that we witness on the part of the interviewer is that, despite asking questions that could reveal their struggle on the path they have chosen, they are asked questions that they have never heard of in their career.
Some TV journalists, for instance, ask questions that require knowledge of Nepali proverbs and other general knowledge. Such questions could be directed towards those preparing for the Public Service Commission exams, not one working in the field of entertainment.
He or she can be posed questions that help reveal their ideals in the field they are pursuing. Someone, for example, working in the field of music could be asked about if they have an ideal who has been working in a popular band.
Asking questions thought to be insignificant to the interviewee can only infuriate him or her and leave a bad impression even on the audiences watching the programme.
Scrutinising each and every sector and applying some rules and regulations as per the provisions of the constitution are the need of the hour. Apart from applying the rules, a sensible citizen, regardless of where they work, needs to be serious about the work he or she is assigned to.
Vijay Kumar, a popular and senior journalist of Nepal, in an interview spoke about the role of the social media and the content they are presenting.
'Until the government makes viewers pay for the programmes they watch, their content serving the common people through the social media, especially you tube, will not consist of quality news'.
It would be wise to ponder over his statement. But at the same time, one cannot ignore the fact that we have not reached the stage when we can pay for the sites we are watching due to monetary constraints.
Anyone working on the TV channels needs to adhere to the ethics of journalism and serve the society with quality news stuff so that everyone watching either live or recorded programmes would feel delighted after the programme is over.
Chand is an independent researcher
A version of this article appears in the print on September 22 2021, of The Himalayan Times.