Journalist + Police + Judge = YouTuber

Gone are those days when there used to be a journalist whereby s/he reports an incident and then police go to investigate and take custody of the accused. Lawyers would be employed to advocate for the plaintiff and defendant. The hearing will be many times in court sessions; it may even take years. And finally judges would reach a verdict. Isn't it a very tiresome process?

That's why we have YouTubers today. They will bring you the verdict in one short video.

Just like mobile have, to some extent, replaced camera, clock, mp3 players and calendar, YouTubers seem to have replaced journalists, police and a judge. Wait, but that's all for fake.

Let me start with one simple example: last week a video news of a baby girl who was found in the shrubs of Kapan, in a biscuit cartoon, went viral. Who made it viral? Bhagya Neupane. Many online news and youtube channels featured the news but Mr. Bhagya writes the fates of others on the grounds that he has nearly 2 million subscribers in Youtube and any video he uploads will reach a limelight. So did the news of the abandoned baby girl.

YouTuber Bhagya Neupane
YouTuber Bhagya Neupane

Later it was revealed that the girl was not abandoned but she was used to plot a story so that her wretched biological mother would have some wherewithal for her upbringing. The owner of Balgriha orphanage Puspa Adhikari aided in the plot and they just put the baby in a cartoon and left her near a playground in Kapan. Later, after the news outburst people started to send and donate money.

One fine morning Mr Bhagya again rushes to Pushpa's office, this time to destroy the fate of hers and her orphan occupants. Never did he appear so cruel. Never did I saw−though I am not someone who prefers to watch his contents−him condescending others so derogatively. He pretends to have been disturbed by the plot where he feels himself to be interwoven. Or at least, he was just justifying his position so that his viewers would not think that he is also the accomplice in this conspiracy.

He knocks on the door, with his youtubers colleagues, waiting outside. The door opens and one of the female aides tells her that the Sister (Mrs. Pushpa) was waiting upstairs for him. But then all the youTubers gang swarmed in to her room. It was like a police raid or something. Someone bids Namaste on the way and he blatantly says he would not reply for Namaste. Mr. Bhagya cuts in to sit beside Pushpa Adhikari. And the whole ambiance turned different.

How close can a man sit beside a woman when they are not kin? First Bhagya Neupane sits that close. Second, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, he should at least have followed the rules of social and physical distancing. But he is like a superman and he does not have a mask worn on his face. Of what arrogance has risen up in him that he thinks like a boss? He does have a camera and he is a superman. Does he even have rights to enter into someone's property uninvited, with camera, invade into someone's privacy, defame her and disparage her and make a video to publicly share on social media? Is consent something that has a meaning to his world?

Having said that, Pushpa Adhikari, is not innocent. She should be punished by the law of this nation and not by Bhagya Neupane. At first place, who sensationalized the news? Hungry youTubers keep rummaging for the contents here and there. When they smell something fishy they just surge into someone's life like a pack of wolves. They forget humanity for the sake of content and views that translates to money. Bhagya Neupane, among others, is just like them. The only difference is he is more successful. But everything has its limit. He made a video of the baby girl and Pushpa Adhikari a few days back. If he was not blindfolded by the hunger of getting some content for his YouTube, he would have done a second thought and tried to understand the plot before uploading it on YouTube. The same video earned hundreds of bucks and now he is angry with Mrs Pushpa that he rushed to take revenge inside the camera frame. It was he who pledged for the help. By doing so, he won the public sympathy and gained subscribers. Viewers praised him for his social heroism. He gained popularity from the public and money from YouTube. He had nothing to lose and he took out his steps to debunk the fraud through his video which was bound to be on the trending list. The debunking video is now playing in top 3.

A YouTuber is not a journalist. He is not a police and a judge. Running merely a YouTube channel does not make one a journalist. There is a clear demarcation between a youTuber and a journalist but YouTubers in Nepal seems to be self-possessed and self-acclaimed that they have blurred the lines between two professions. If one is not associated with a press or a news firm, if he does not have a license for journalism, how can he legally interview a person? In Nepal country, when law and order are always challenged, YouTubers come to play the role of all-in-one superhero, while the administration  poises aback in the deafening silence. They boast because they think they have the millions of followers and they think they are above law owing to big number of subscribers. Just look at the headlines, title and thumbnails of the trending videos of Nepal: unbeknownst to the law and police Youtubers publicize the final verdict online. And how easily poor people watch them and believe them. 

They have become them only because we are us. We watch them, believe and promote them so that they can become more like they will be tomorrow.


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