Quarterly report (July- Sept 2019) on anonymous sources in newspapers

South Asia Check / October 17, 2019

During the three months between July 1 and September 30, 2019, among the six major national dailies that we monitor, Nagarik used the most number of anonymous sources in the front page reports. It used a total of 227 anonymous sources in the front page reports during the period.
South Asia Check tracks the use of anonymous sources in the news reports published on the front pages of six leading national dailies of Nepal – Kantipur, Nagarik, Annapurna Post, The Kathmandu Post, Republica and The Himalayan Times. While the first three are Nepali language newspapers, the last three publish in English.
After Nagarik, the dailies using the most number of anonymous sources included The Kathmandu Post, Kantipur, Annapurna Post and Republica respectively. The Himalayan Times used the least number of anonymous sources during the period. In the three months, it used 82 anonymous sources in its news reports.
During the three months, the front page reports of the six dailies used altogether 974 anonymous sources.

Most of the news reports on the front pages of the newspapers were on politics. Anonymous sources were mostly used in politics-related news reports (in 264 instances) during the period. The Kathmandu Post and Nagarik were the first and second national dailies respectively using the highest numbers of anonymous sources in their news reports related to politics; The Kathmandu Post used anonymous sources in 80 instances and Nagarik in 61 instances in such reports.
Corruption is the second topic in the Nepali newspapers where anonymous sources were used in highest numbers. During this period, anonymous sources were used in 163 instances in corruption-related news reports in the six newspapers. Kantipur used the highest numbers of anonymous sources (56) in corruption-related news reports.
Quoting anonymous sources in news reports is normal. Regarding the use of anonymous sources in news reports, ‘Journalist’s Code of Conduct, 2016’ issued by the Nepal Press Council states the following:
“Source should be quoted for the reliability of the news. However, while quoting the source, the name and identity of such source should be kept confidential so as to avoid any serious damage to the source.”
The identity of news source should be protected only if revealing the source’s identity can cause serious harm to him/her.
Haphazard use of the anonymous sources diminishes the credibility of news reports and the newspapers publishing such reports.

Click here to download the statistics prepared by South Asia Check on the issue.

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