Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is it yellow journalism in pink sheet?


Mr Prateek Pradhan
Chief Editor
Karobar Daily

Cc: to
Mr Surendra Pandey
Ministry of Finance

Prateek jee

A number of my well-wishers phoned me to draw my attention to a news item published in Karobar daily of last Thursday. According to the front-paged news item, published as the main news, “no investment could be attracted in the electricity sector due to obstruction posed by electricity tariff fixation commission in raising electricity tariff, thereby contributing to increased load shedding.” You have published my name (only mine) specifically as one of those obstructing tariff increases which is responsible for the problems ranging from lack of investment to energy crisis. Then you have gone on to also publish that Water Supply Tariff Fixation Commission (WSTFC) too has created similar problem due to its failure to revise the tariff.

You have got two facts wrong:

One, I am not a member of electricity tariff fixation commission at all. Therefore, it is well neigh impossible for me to create obstruction in attracting investment in the electricity sector and thus contribute to increased load shedding. If I am able to do something as such single handedly, even without being a member of the relevant commission, then I must be a highly omnipotent and omnipresent person, which I am not. I am simply an academic person involved in reading, writing and teaching about water resources.
Secondly, tariff for water supply was actually increased by about 20% by WSTFC in 2008 December which became effective from mid December 2009. Incidentally I am member of this particular commission.

You must know that ethical journalism makes it incumbent upon the media to check the facts before publishing. By your failure to adhere to ethical journalism as such, I have been slandered/defamed unduly; which is not warranted. At least, I didn’t expect such kind of journalism bordering on yellow journalism from, of all people, you. You have known me since your TKP days and you could have checked the veracity of the facts with me without much difficulty.

It is likely that you will try to defend the news by saying that you have simply quoted what the minister said. I have met the minister (I have known him since early 70s when I was a faculty member of Institute of Management of TU and him a student) last Friday to discuss this particular news item. He categorically denied mentioning my name. I too am confident that, in view of my special relationship with him, he would not say something silly as such which is likely to belittle me (unless my confidence in him is misplaced) thereby in effect belittling himself. I also don’t expect him to say something foolish as such as it would demonstrate profound ignorance on his part. Please note that I have copied this email to him too.

I hope you will publish a clarification in this respect in your paper such that the wrong impression you have created about me in people’s mind could be rectified. I am sure that you are aware that the clarification too will have to be accorded similar level of prominence and I look forward to read such a clarification at your earliest.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha, FCA
Senior Water Resource Analyst
PO Box 12058, Kathmandu
Telephone: +977 1 435-4698
Telephone/Facsimile: +977 1 435-1946

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