Rishi Dhamala (also known as Risi Dhamala or as Durga Prasad Dhamala after his childhood name) is a popular Nepali journalist and the founder and chairperson of the Reporter’s Club Nepal.
As of 2015, Rishi Dhamala leads the Reporter’s Club Nepal, a media forum that brings news reporters and influential figures from Nepal into an interactive platform. In addition, Dhamala works for several other media outlets in Nepal. He works for at least 4 television stations running talk shows and current affairs programs. In Nepal Television, he runs a business talk show; in Himalayan TV, he runs a show called RD Show and in News 24 TV he presents Ujyalo program.
In addition, Rishi Dhamala is associated with and runs programs in Dhading‘s Dibya Dristi television, Nepal Bani Network’s Bani Bahas and writes features and articles in several newspapers including Bimarsha, Ghatana ra Bichar, Satyagraha and Jana Dharana and edits his own online newsportal.
Career As A Journalist:
Rishi Dhamala struggled in Kathmandu for many years before he became a popular journalist. In an interview given to Kapan Online, he recalled his journey from Dhading to Kathmandu and his early days in Kathmandu.
“My cousin brother and I left home at an early age to come to Kathmandu. I managed to steal NRS 100 from my father’s pocket which we used as a travel money to come to Kathmandu through Dhadingbesi and Malekhu. We came to Kathmandu in a truck and we did not know where to go so we told the driver to leave us near the Dharahara Tower. That was all we know about Kathmandu. It was 01.00 am when we reached Kathmandu.”
“I knew that there was a distant-relative from my maternal sides, Pradhumna Bikram Singh, who worked as an officer in Nepal’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MoFA). I went to his place and he was quite happy that I was there. Then I started staying with him and cook for him.”
“After 1990s, I started staying with Rishi Subedi in Kalimati and I used to cook food there as well. There was a newspaper shop nearby and I would see many journalists discussing about different issues there. I came to know a few of them who helped me find job as an assistant in printing press. I also started selling newspapers and worked also as a hawker. This is how I came into journalism.”
After the 1990s democratic movement, Rishi Dhamala became a popular face as a journalist renowned for his ‘cunningness’ and the ability to incur information from various difficult-to-reach authorities and political figures.
Rishi said in an interview that he and his organization Reporter’s Club are behind various political scandals in Nepal.
“One thing is certain that without me and without the Reporter’s Club, there wouldn’t be so many political scandals in Nepal. Most of these press-political scandals are in fact created on purpose. Narahari Acharya had to resign as Nepali Congress Party‘s Spokeperson due to something that spoke at the Reporters Club. Sarad Sing Bhandari lost his post as a cabinet minister because of his controversial statement (The Terai can separate from Nepal) that he gave at a press-meet organized by the club. His statement created a national uproar. Without the Reporter’s club, these things were not possible.”
Rishi Dhamala has been lately criticized by many Nepali social media users for his harsh and what many term as rude interview style. His interview with Nepal’s popular cricket player and captain of the time Paras Khadka was criticized by many Nepalis in Nepal and abroad. While responding to the critics, Dhamala said:
“I have interviewed India’s Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh while he was in office, why can’t I interview Nepali cricket player Khadka? A journalist can ask questions to presidents, prime ministers, leaders, celebrities and sportsmen. There is no point in littering Facebook walls because a journalist asked a few questions to a cricketer.”