Journalists have their own perspectives about what makes the news. For deputy editor of Annapurna Daily Chudamani Bhattarai, it is finding out facts in depth of truth. In his mission, journalist Bhattarai has already made a number of revelations about government and security agencies.
Born in far-eastern hills of Nepal, Bhattarai went to school in Nepal’s terai plains. When Bhattarai started his career as a journalist, Nepal had ushered in an era of new liberal democracy by overthrowing the 30 years old Panchayat system. He started his career and pursued his higher education side by side.
His beat was security, which is regarded was a very sensitive issue in Nepal during the mid-1990s. However, his courage and patience to work helped him reveal the depth of things. Because of his write-ups, particularly investigative stories, he went to the United States of America in Hawaii to study security issues.
“My investigation mission reached the depth of truth and revealed hundreds of mysteries from the ashes,” said journalist Bhattarai. “This kind of journalism also helps to change the policy of states. This is what I feel as my responsibility as a citizen of Nepal.”
He has had a long habit to write. His writing skills got enhanced further in journalism. He was admitted to Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus following the completion of his school education in eastern Nepal. “When I joined journalism, there was a new found freedom and freedom of expression. I developed an attachment with the journalism profession,” said journalist Bhattarai.
As his efforts to continue to do investigative journalism was bringing wrong-doers in the public, he sometimes received threats. “Nothing can stop my mission to expose the wrongdoers.”
As the Constitution of 1990 guaranteed the freedom of expression and press freedom, journalist Bhattarai’s mission to pursue investigative journalism and unveil truth became more relevant. “I started to dig out the historical facts, meeting former the palace families and Rana families, living in different parts of Kathmandu,” said Bhattarai.
With such good information in his hand, he started to write not only news, but also columns on historical figures and their perspectives. “My historical write-ups help scholars and researchers as a reference to their study,” said Bhattarai.
Bhattarai also wrote a number of stories on the government in Singhdurbar. He exposed the unlawful and unconstitutional decision taken by the government officials and government. Unsatisfied, he started to write stories on the Army and Police. He brought to public some important information about Nepal’s security agencies and exposed the unlawful practices inside Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Intelligence offices.
“When I started investigative journalism, breaking stories on Nepal Army and Nepal Police, it was a very difficult task. I had to walk a tight rope between two guns,” said journalist Bhattarai. "I covered not only day to issues but also exposed the lapses of security policy, including that of army, police and armed police."
During the period of the armed rebellion, journalist Bhattarai covered the news about the Maoist rebellion. He even reached up to their policy decision making places and published the rebels' inner decisions.
From Singhdurbar to Royal Palace and Army headquarter to police headquarter; he even had access to the core group of Maoist rebels. “I had broken much information about Maoist rebel’s internal policy and other matter,” said Bhattarai. “My aim was to reach the depth of the story and events.”
Although he is now leading a team as the deputy editor of Annapurna Post daily, his interest is to dig out the story. Starting his career from Janastha Weekly, Bhattarai also worked at Nepal weekly magazine. His investigative stories have made significant impacts in the government policies.
With a long expertise in covering the security sector, journalist Bhattarai is regarded as a security expert. Former Defense secretary Debendra Sitaula holds the view that the reporting made by Bhattarai has greatly influenced the security policy. “His reporting on restricting of Nepal Army was very significant and important. We always took his reporting seriously,” said Bhattarai.
Along with working in editorial section of Annapurna Post, Bhattarai is currently a visiting faculty at Purbanchal University, teaching journalism at the Master's level. He is also giving training to spokespersons and high officials of Nepal's Armed Police, Nepal Police and on right to information.
The success of journalists is seen in how much he has revealed in the news and uncovered wrongdoings of the government and public officials. Journalist Bhattarai has shown that he has the courage and patience to uncover the wrongdoings, including corruption.