I reached out to Gyanu Adhikari wondering if I had missed the boat. I wanted to speak to him about co-founding The Record, an online news portal that started publishing in 2014, but the website had stopped posting new information this past July. I probably should have contacted him two years earlier, after I started this podcast, but I think as a media person myself I just took the website for granted as another media portal not as an experiment in providing news without advertising and in multiple formats.
So I was happily surprised when Gyanu agreed to an interview – but startled when he said that what he really wanted to discuss was his optimism about Nepal’s future. It’s rare to hear that view. Instead, what many people seem to want to talk about are government failures: the lack of action on air pollution and to combat health crises like Covid-19 and the ongoing dengue outbreak. Myself, I can easily get fixated on the glacial progress toward solving long-standing issues, like lack of healthcare in rural areas and the mind-boggling neglect of preparations for the inevitable disasters that occur during the monsoon. So it was really good to hear from someone who can see beyond the obvious problems.
Back to The Record, and journalism in Nepal more broadly. Here I think Gyanu was hopeful rather than optimistic. Hopeful that some young, entrepreneurial media people would build on The Record’s record, in particular counting on subscribers instead of advertisers to generate the resources to keep the portal running, and with an eye to maintaining its independence. That would be easier today than when the site was launched thanks to huge advances in online payment services, Gyanu pointed out. Perhaps the new operation could be bilingual too, he suggested.
This conversation reminded me of my chat with Shailee Basnet, who has climbed Mt Everest and is now a stand-up comic, motivational speaker and mentor to young women. When I asked her in 2021 why so many Nepalis were reaching global heights, as climbers, chefs, performers, etc, she made it sound like a natural evolution, part of the country’s so-called development if you like. I still feel that it is largely the people of Nepal who are leading the country forward rather than its leaders. As you’ll hear, Gyanu disagrees with me. Listen to our chat now to learn more.
Website of The Record
Gyanu Adhikari on Twitter
Nepal Now social links
Thanks as always to Nikunja Nepal for advice and inspiration.
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