Most Influencial Media Outlet In Nepal
(This article is contributed by Alina Shakya)
Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel
The world today is increasingly driven by a combination of information and entertainment values and these are both promoted by the explosion of different means of communication such as satellite T.V and internet communication. This means the market for information is extremely competitive. The Nepalese mass media sector is highly political and commercial, with few personal dimension. Nepalese media is a combination of two very different extremes: tightly controlled National institutions that mainly reflect the official views (the state owned media) and free-market and entertainment-based private media channels that reflect a combination of state and private views.
Television, radio & newspapers were the main forms of media respondents cited when they were asked to list types of media they were aware of, followed by newspapers and Internet/ Email. There were also a few who included postal services in the list. However, incidence of those mentioning postal services as a form of media was very low in the rural areas & vice versa when it came to Internet.
The modern history of mass communication in Nepal starts after bringing a printing press in 1851 AD (1908 BS) from Britain.Gorkhapatra is considered as the country’s eldest newspaper published on 24th Baishakh 1958 BS. The publication of Gorkhapatra is considered as the beginning of newspaper publication in Nepal. Nepal Television started its transmission since 2042 B.S however Nepal T.V act was approved in 2041 B.S. On 20th of Chaitra, 2007 B.S Radio Nepal was formally established. But all these three mediums of mass communication were under ownership of the state. It took decades for the private sector to come forward and compete with these state owned media and influence the people of Nepal and their society.
According to famous Nepali journalist Shiva Regmi the radio sets started to enter in Nepal since the decade to 1980B.S .But the radio broadcasting started from 2003 B.S. Radio Nepal started its short wave transmission in 2007 B.S with the help of 250W transmitter.At that time Radio Nepal has programme of 4 hours and 30 minutes. Now the Radio Nepal is transmitting its programme more than 17 hours each day.It is government controlled media of Nepal. It started its FM transmission in 2052 B.S Kartik 13, in Kathmandu. Nepal Government started to provide license for private radio stations through FM transmission since 2052 B.S. The development of Broadcasting system started with the innovation of wireless Transmission system .The Italian Gugli Marconi demonstrated first wireless System in 1895 A.D, transmitting message through the air by electronic impulses. Radio stations speaks mainly two voices A.M and F.M. A.M means Amplitude Modulation and F.M means Frequency Modulation.
Radio Nepal is the national broadcaster with maximum geographic coverage and highest audience listenership in NepaL. Radio Nepal runs its transmission in Short Wave (SW), Medium Wave (MW) and Frequency Modulation (FM) frequencies from the different locations in Nepal. In Nepal, Kathmandu valley is the most crowded place in terms of FM radio frequencies ranging from 87.6 MHz to 107.4 MHz. As on March 1, 2008 the audible radio stations at the Kathmandu valley is +29. Analog tuning has now become more difficult with more frequencies on pipeline and new radio stations operating around the valley.
Facts and Figures
• The Broadcast Audience Survey (BAS 2006-2007) shows that 65% of the country is covered by one of more of the FM radio signals for comfortable tuning to the radio frequencies. This percentage increases to 75% when calculated for the lowest signal level that can be received by a highly sensitive radio set.
• Housewives and shop owners are the most radio listening group in the country (32% each) while students (13%) are found to be the next most listening group in the country.
• Radio is available and accessible in 82% of Nepalese household while 59% of household has television, telephone 30%, newspaper 13%, magazines 5% and internet 1%.
• 76% of radio sets owned have both AM and FM tuners while around 7% of radio sets are only tunable to AM bands such as Medium Wave and Short wave. • 56% of radio sets owned in the country are Chinese brands, while 37% of radio sets are Indian and 2.7% Japanese. 1.8 percent of radio sets are from rest of the countries.
• Radio is the most preferred source of information and entertainment with 64%, followed by television – 35%, newspapers 0.8% and internet 0.1%. • FM radio is the most preferred (84.7%) frequency band among the radio bands, followed by Medium Wave (MW – 44.6%) and Short Wave (SW – 16.5%).
• The peak radio listening time is 6:00am – 8:00am in the morning and 6:00pm -10:00pm in the evening. It can be easily assumed that a greater part of Nepalese population owns a radio set. This was also evident from the statistics of the survey data which shows that though some of the rural respondents did own a television, a majority owned only a radio. This is because much of the rural Nepal is devoid of electricity and proper transportation services. This has been greatly challenged the television and print media for reaching out to the public. The low literacy rate and poor communications infrastructure are also the reasons for little recognition of
newspapers and the internet. In most of the electrified rural areas – terrestrial signals of Nepal Television is the only one that can be received. In many or the rural areas, respondents stated that they have to visit the district headquarters or nearby townships to read newspapers or the magazines. In other regions, the newspaper would reach in a week at its earliest. However, situation was comparatively better in the rural areas of the Tarai, where people had higher level of access to television as well as daily newspapers. There were very few respondents who mentioned having telephone lines in their household. There were some VDCs (close to the headquarters) where a number of villagers owned a mobile phone. This was quite evident in Palpa district where a majority of the household in MadanPokhara VDC had at least one mobile phone. When the respondent were asked to mention only one media as the most preferred source of information and/or entertainment, radio was found to be the winner among others. The figures for radio (64.1%) is almost double than that of the television (35 %). While the figures for magazines was negligible, newspaper was the most preferred source of information for some of the respondent, most of which were from the urban population. Internet was preferred media for only a small percentage of urban population. When asked the reasons behind their choice of media, easy accessibility and low operating costs were key considerations, followed by the variety of channels and content. The urban population favored the choices and selection of the content in both the radio and television. Most of the respondents wanted to hear more about the local issues in their radio and this figure was higher (37.2%) for the urban population than the rural (25.7%). The cost issue was not a big deal for some urban population while this was the major reason for many of the rural respondents.
From the data analysis, it is seen that radio is mostly used for news and music, but this was not the primary reason for preferring radio to other forms of media. Surprisingly, news and music were the least reasons for preferring the radio.