Sunday, July 18, 2010
'Paper Orphans' under government scanner (Republica)
'Paper Orphans' under government scanner
Om Astha Rai
Kathmandu, July 18: The government has brought a documentary, screened recently at an international conference on inter-country adoption systems, under its scanner.
Officials at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) are investigating into the making of Paper Orphans, a documentary produced in Nepal by the Swiss foundation Terre des Hommes, on suspicion of the flouting of the country's regulations. Terre des Hommes is an international non-government organization working for 'children in distress'.
MoWCSW officials say they are doubtful if the producer of the documentary possesses necessary legal papers.
"We repeatedly asked the producer of the documentary to produce a letter of permission obtained from the Ministry of Information and Communication (MoIC), but to no avail," a MoWCSW official told myrepublica.com. "The producer showed all papers but the one most required to be obtained from MoIC."
A foreign national needs to obtain written permission from MoIC for producing a documentary here. However, Joseph Aguettant, the producer of Paper Orphans, has not obtained any such letter from the Audio and Visual Department of MoIC.
"Aguettant has not got permission from us," a MoIC official said, adding, "Making a documentary without our permission is an offense."
However, MoWCSW officials are considering the possibility that someone else might have obtained permission from MoIC on behalf of Aguettant.
"Our investigation so far has revealed that neither Terre des hommes nor Aguettant obtained any permission letter from MoIC," a MoWCSW official said. "However, the possibility of someone else having obtained permission for them is also there."
Nonetheless, MoWCSW has already published a notice in its official website, vowing to take action against the producer of Paper Orphans. When contacted, staff at the Jhamiskhel office of Terres des hommes declined to comment on the government's allegations.
"We know what the government is up to, regarding our documentary, but we cannot make any comment at this stage," a high-level staffer at Terres des Homes, who is unwilling to be named, said. "We will speak at an appropriate time."
As Aguettant, who is also country representative of Terres des Hommes, was out of Nepal on a month long vacation, myrepublica.com failed to contact him. His documentary exposes glaring malpractices prevalent in Nepal's inter-country adoption system.
However, MoWCSW has its own reservations over the documentary. It has claimed that the documentary is centered on an old news report and has the motive of tarnishing Nepal's image abroad.
"The documentary deals with a case that took place before the government introduced a new inter-country adoption policy," said a MoWCSW official. "Post implementation of the new policy, stronger regulations are in place. But the documentary shows glaring loopholes in our system, most of which were prevalent only before the new policy came into existence."
The screening of Paper Orphans was one of the reasons why the government skipped a recently held international conference on inter-country adoption.
Published on 2010-07-18
Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.