KATHMANDU — A visit by the SIGNIS Asia president, Mr. Lawrence John has opened a link to those involved in Christian media in Nepal. John was met by Mr. Chirendra Satyal the local media representative of the Catholic Church.
Besides meeting with Bishop Anthony Sharma, local clergy and Protestant leaders in his pioneer three-day, January 29-31, visit to Kathmandu, SIGNIS Asia’s president also met media professionals and visited Christian media centre’s, NGO Productions Houses and a radio station run by Christians in Kathmandu.
After his first visit to Nepal by any SIGNIS leader, John left with high hopes of holding one of the annual SIGNIS Asia assemblies in Nepal by the end of this year.
“Such an assembly involving Catholic media professionals coming from all over Asia, it would not only help Nepal boost hopes of talented Catholics in Nepal to continue to take up social communications mission, it will also help SIGNIS Asia members understand local media realities and perhaps pave the way for Nepal to join SIGNIS as a member,” he said.
John, also met with two of the leading non-Catholic Christian media pioneers of Nepal, Pastor Loknath Manen and Believers Church Bishop Narayan Sharma.
Pastor Manen, who like to called a writer and who had started Christian newspapers and magazines and produced Christian hymns in audio CDs and also Christian films, said (as they met together),”Nepalese are emerging out of illiteracy and are not `reading’ people – they are addicted to audio through the wires of visuals on the screen. After the democratic changes we are using local TV channels to broadcast Christian or value based programs.
In his visit with Believers’ church Bishop, the SIGNIS president was told by Bishop Narayan Sharma, “After the recent political changes none of the two dozen TV stations or over 140 FM radio stations would refuse broadcast of any Christian programs if we produce them. I have been producing radio programs and broadcasting via short wave and FM since the last five years. Right now our “Atmik Yatra” (Spiritual Journey) programs are being broadcast via 52 FM stations daily and the government radio station weekly. We hope to go on the internet and reach Nepalese all over the world with our programs.
Presenting Mr. John dozens of audio CDs and DVDs in Nepalese language, Bishop Narayan Sharma said, “I am busy preparing a movie on an ethnic Nepali literary figure of Darjeeling (India) – Pastor Gangaprasad Pradhan – who produced the first Nepali newspaper in Nepali language and translated the Bible in Nepali language in 1914. We have to complete this movie before July 2011.”
John also visited the first south Asian FM radio station in central Kathmandu named “Good News FM” The managing director of the FM Station, Mr. RC Timothy said a permanent building for the radio station was being completed nearby and there were plans to add relay antennas soon. Currently the lone antenna reaches over ten districts in and around Kathmandu valley.
John said just before he left Nepal: “I have been able to understand the ground realities in my first visit here. I have learned a lot from the struggles and successes of Christians and Catholics who have gone beyond their boundaries to further media here. SIGNIS likes to extend its help to Christians and like minded people in Nepal as they face a new digital world. With the expertise of our members and with faith in Christ the whole world should open for Nepalese working in media.”
John also urged that the network of Nepalese Catholics and Christians working in media that was formed in March 2010 be strengthened. He met and urged the half a dozen lay-Catholics involved in media in Nepal to get together regularly and celebrate World Communications day with a common Eucharist.
End/Signis Asia Board