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Nepal: Bloggers Form Association

Categories: South Asia, Nepal, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Media & Journalism, Blogger Profiles

Twenty-four bloggers from capital Kathmandu gathered on Saturday April 21 to discuss the formation of Bloggers Association of Nepal (BLOGAN) for the promotion and protection of blogs and blogging in the tiny Himalayan country where blogs are yet to be recognized by the population.

There are less than 300 regular blogs in Nepal, but despite that – the role played by the blogs during the tight censorship of media during King Gyanendra’s direct rule from October 2004 to April 2006 and during the People’s Movement last April that re-established democratic rule have given enough enthusiasm to bloggers to work for expanding the blogosphere further.

By Jitendra Bajracharya
via Jiten World [1]

The enthusiasm is vivid in the entries posted by bloggers. Bloggers are calling the meet a historic one. Mero Sansar [2] posted photos [3] and videos [4] of the gathering under the title ‘Historic Gathering of Nepali Bloggers’ while Deepak’s Diary [5] praises the inclusiveness in the gathering:

The fourth Nepali bloggers’ meet that took place today was historic in every sense of the word. There were unprecedented numbers of bloggers (total 24, six of them female; no gender bias ladies!); they ranged from an eighteen-year-old Deelip Khanal to Buddhi Narayan Shrestha, retired Director General of Survey Department of Nepal; Rajendra Biswakarma represented the Dalit community while there was Mohammad Tajim (a Muslim) and Salik Shah who is an ardent flag bearer of Madhesi issues. But, it was the common thread of blogging that brought us all together. Hey, something's happening? Are you watching?

The meet also formed a working committee to move forward and most of the members nominated themselves to the committee. The committee includes Ujjwal Acharya (co-ordinator), KP Dhungana, Ghanshyam Ojha, Deepak Adhikari, Ram Prasad Dahal, Bishnu Dhakal, Rajendra Biswokarma, Avinashi Paudel, Mohd Tajim, Tapas Barsimha Thapa and Umesh Shrestha.

The meeting also decided to publish a book on blogging to create a awareness and promote blogging. NepaliVoices [6] writes:

he other major decision made today include giving kick-start to book publication. KP Dhungana will be co-ordinating the work while all of us agreed to help him by writing what he will ask for. All the bloggers will write their blogging experience (either English or Nepali).

Though all participating bloggers agreed that an association is needed, there were discussions on whether it should be registered with government or not. Dedicated to Daniel Pearl [7] opposes the idea of registering in fear of losing the freedom that the bloggers enjoy:

Do we need to get registered to perform all these tasks? My fear is also that we not only will loose our freedom but will also fall into a list of the NGOs, which are notoriously known for milking money in Nepal. … But my point is why don't we try to remain as bloggers…not any organzation?

Kathmandu Speaks [8] opines for the need of organization. Registered or not, every bloggers agreed that BLOGAN will hold conference and award best blogs annually and it looks like the Nepali blogosphere is gearing up to become a force.