By Ram Khatry I 26 May 2019: Guinness World Record holding Nepalese media phenomenon Rabi Lamichhane, who is currently touring down under with his Sidha Kura Janata Sanga crew, has passionately spoken in favour of Nepalese students who he claims are “bound” to enter fake marriages because of deplorable condition and lack of opportunities in their own country.
The controversial journalist claims it is the failure of Nepal as a state that forced these young men and women to resort to fake marriages as a means to securing Australian visa.
Mr Lamichhane, whose aggressive reporting style has elevated him to a level of popularity no other Nepalese media person had ever achieved before, says he is here to “follow up” on issues his television programme had covered earlier as well as to hold interaction programmes on the grievances of Nepalese expatriates and students living in Australia.
In a number of Facebook Live appearances since he touched down in Sydney last Thursday, the News24 anchor had promised his fans to broadcast live from Australia creating massive expectations among members of the diaspora as Mr Lamichhane is known for his ability to attract and encourage “victims” to come forward and open up live.
One of many issues affecting the young Nepalese community in Australia is the “industry” of fake marriages. Students resort to fake marriages as a means of securing Australian visa, it is often reported. As they end up “marrying” someone they had never had any relationship with, both parties in these bogus matrimonies end up suffering serious financial, legal and psychological challenges, Mr Lamichhane laments in a recent video of his live broadcast from Canberra.
In his typical monologue prior to talking to his guest in the programme, Mr Lamichhane lambasted the Nepalese government for its failure (to create and provide opportunities at home) that he claimed forced students to go to such desperate lengths.
“Many people criticise it but we are not going to pass any comments on this,” he said in the live broadcast late Sunday night.
He mentioned that all Nepalese students who go to such extreme lengths to secure a passage to Australia are victims of the hopeless situation in their own country and put the blame on the Nepalese government for not creating enough opportunities at home.
“Victims in the sense that the state has forced Nepalese people to be compromised at this level,” he explained.
Because of lack of opportunities at home, Nepalese youths are having to marry people they have never known before or people they never had any intention of marrying, the celebrity journalist argued.
Brisbane-based media expert Dr Bharat Raj Poudel says although he holds no prejudice against Rabi Lamichhane’s television programme or his style of “unique journalism” liked mostly by the common people, there are things that the popular journalist should be concerned about. “His presentation of sensitive issues and exposing of alleged culprits have somehow limited the chance of contesting the allegations and wrongdoings. Furthermore, his aggressive approach while digging into the subject-matter is not easily letting him meet the globally accepted privacy requirements. The “Fourth Estate” concept in our context must work as the journalists’ role in representing the interests of “the people” and nation in a disciplined manner. It is with this frame in mind that the news media should approach stories that arise from a careful appraisal of the revelations, allegations or speculations they contain,” Dr Poudel said.
Dr Poudel further pointed out that in the eyes of the Nepalese public Mr Lamichhane is either a god or an enemy. A journalist should not be fond of being responded to as a celebrity or highly powerful person of the state. His role in public hearing and carrying over public grievance to the right authorities needs careful and legally or practically-oriented attention, he added.
“Nonetheless, Rabi Lamichhanne has been able to secure justice to victims directly or indirectly compelling authorities to be responsible and take action,” he said.
Mr Lamichhane, who in 2013 remained on air for 62 hours to set his Guinness World Record beating two Ukrainian presenters who had set similar record for 52 hours in 2011, is both hated and loved in Nepal. Everyday Nepalese adore him while the corrupt and targets of his news stories as well as their supporters abhor him.