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FES Nepal in the Press - 2003

 


Effective Urban governance needs social and political integration <Top>

Kathmandu: The Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN) and the German Foundation (FES) organized a one-day training program on "Gender Sensitization in the Municipal Governance" here on December 13, 2003.

Altogether, 65 municipal authority from ten different districts attended the training course, it is learnt.

The chiefs from MuAN, National Association of Village Development Committee, NAVIN, and Association of District Development Committees of Nepal, ADDCN, joint Secretaries of the ministry of Local Development and Social Welfare Ministry participated in the meeting.

The meeting focused on the achievements in the field’s of women’s promotion, obstacles faced by duly elected women representatives, the need for essential reforms in legal fields and the challenged ahead.

The preconditions for gender-balanced urban governance formulated by the participants were: increasing the number of women in executive committees; strengthening of their participation through political, economic and administrative devolution of power, capacity building or elected and nominated women and development of an indicator oriented monitoring system. Unless women achieve parity "protective discrimination" should be continued seeking women’s increased representation in the local and the national governance.

Speaking from the chair, the president of ADDCN, Krishna Prasad Sapkota viewed that "there should be an equilibrium system between reservation for women and their competitiveness.

"Reservation does not guarantee political will, what is required now is political will among the women to participate in public life of the society", said Sapkota.

Som Lal Dubadi, Joint Secretary, MLD, highlighted the government’s efforts towards making gender sensitive development. Dhruba Khadka, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare sought the cooperation of the civil society in making the urban governance effective to suit to the demands of the day.

Dev Raj Dahal, the head of Nepal Office of the FES argued: " Urban governance is polycentric encompassing many competing and often overlapping centers of decision making in which MuAN shares one civic space along with a number of women’s organizations.

"Its effectiveness lies in applying the principles of subsidiary that is linking its local members to decision-making level and generating a system of check and balance between macro and micro institutions of governance", said Mr. Dahal.

The capacity of the MuAN, according to Dahal, becomes stronger if there is an equal social and political integration of male and female in urban governance and capturing the development synergy that is both just and sustainable.

Three papers in all were presented on the occasion. Ms. Chandra Kala Sonar dwelt on Concept of Gender; Hari Phuyal on Application of Gender on Municipal Governance: A legal Perspective and the Ms. Puspa Ghimire made her presentation on Gender Sensitization on Urban Governance.

Source: The Telegraph Weekly (17 December 2003)


Bar, bench bond vital for judicial decisions <Top>

By a Staff Reporter

KATHMANDU, Dec 14: The process of making judicial decisions is complicated and expensive due to lack of mutual understanding among the legal practitioners, court officials and the judiciary. The problems have intensified despite the efforts of the Supreme Court and Nepal Bar Association.

The judicial decisions can be more prompt if there is mutual understanding between the bar and the bench, said legal practitioners, registrars of the Appellate Court, Patan and Katmandu District Court today.

The procedural difficulties should be ironed out to make judicial decisions more effective. Good laws alone are not sufficient, the people's attitude while implementing the laws plays a vital role, they said.

Victims often will not go to court for fear of being entangled in legal complications, they said.

Expressing their views at a programme on Human Rights for Social Justice - The process of Case Filing and Simplification of Judicial System, officials from various government offices, including the Land Revenue Office and Nepal Police stressed on the need for a common approach.

The programme was organized by Legal Aid and Consultancy Center (LACC).

Lack of awareness, delay in the judicial decision making process and procedural complications discourage people in seeking justice from the judicial bodies, they added.

Speaking about the case management system, Registrar of the Appellate Court, Patan, Til Prasad Shrestha hinted at the possibility of more reforms in the near future.

Shrestha strongly pointed out the need for developing competency to address new cases.

Shrestha further said that both the legal practitioners and the concerned people should be familiar with the case. The prime aim of the judicial bodies is to provide justice to the victims as soon as possible. However, carious problems occur while deciding the case, he added.

Prof. Shanta Thapaliya, chairperson of the LACC, said that people involved in the judicial system should be aware about the victim's problems. She said many women and children are deprived of their rights due to legal complications. Legal and administrative hassles have discouraged many people.

She stressed the need for generating awareness about the legal system and that those who are deprived of their rights should be provided with justice in time. Justice delayed is justice denied, she said.

Krishna Kamal Adhikary, registrar of the Katmandu District Court (KDC), in his paper stressed the need for developing mutual understanding among the legal practitioners, officials and judicial bodies.

Basanti Shrestha, a legal practitioner, spoke about the legal complications faced in the court. Chhatra Kumari Gurung, vice chairperson of the LACC, highlighted the objectives of her organization.

Source: The Rising Nepal (15 December 2003)

(Workshop organised by LACC in cooperation with FES in Kathmandu)


Mobilise youths for development <Top>

From our Correspondent

Bhairahawa, Dec. 12: The overall development of the nation is not possible, without the active participation of youths. They should be encouraged to be responsible and accountable for economic and social development, said economists and social activists here today.

They said this while discussing the role of youths in local self governance in the existing situation.

They also expressed deep concern over the anomalies and frustrations among the youths. If youths are put aside from development activities, society will continue to bear the brunt of confrontation and violence, they said.

Excluding youths from development activities will have a serious impact in the economy, said Prof. Guna Nidhi Sharma.

Speaking at the regional workshop and seminar on "The Role of Youths in Local Self-Governance" organized by the Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) - Katmandu, Prof. Sharma accused the existing state mechanism of tinkering with the force of youths.

"They are the real builders of the nation, so their force and creativity cannot be undermined," he said. It is state that should be responsible for mobilizing the youths, said Prof. Sharma.

The entire structure should be overhauled to give a fresh start to the economy. "It needs a real shock," he said.

Prof. Sharma also noted that the economy would deteriorate even more if frustrations among the youths deepen. Their frustration constrains development, he added.

He also appealed to all to do some soul searching in order to go ahead.

Prof. Ram Kumar Dahal, presenting a paper, about the role of youths in local governance, stressed the need to encourage them to participate in developmental activities.

Shiv Kumar Dahal, a researcher and sociologist said that the youths should be provided with civic education in order to make them aware about social dynamism. Civic education is a must for young generations, he added.

He further said that the youths should be encouraged to involve themselves in the social transformation process.

Executive director of the NEAFS, Prof. Anand P. Shrestha, said that awareness generating programmes would help bolster unity and a sense of national development among youths.

Prof. Shrestha also highlighted the NEFAS programme to generate awareness about civic education.

Madan Prasad Dawadi, chairman of the programme, said civic education was essential for consolidating democracy and national development.

Around 45 people from various organizations in Rupandehi, Palpa and Butwal participated in the seminar.

Source: The Rising Nepal (13 December 2003)


Media's role for good governance stressed <Top>

By Our Correspondent

KATHMANDU, Dec 3: Scholars and media experts have said that media should play a pivotal role with critical and indifferent observation of the society for the development and good governance in a democracy.

At a seminar on 'Media, Development and Democracy' organised by the Telegraph Weekly and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung(Germany) (FES) here today they said that Nepali media could play a catalytic role or watchdog on those issues related with the society, democracy and nation.

Speaking at the function, media advisor of the FES Nepal, P. Kharel said that since the development of media was the result of changing time, intellectual mind should exercise with indifferent judgement for its further development along with the democratisation in real sense.

He said that no government had guaranteed the right to information in the last 13 years.

Prof. P. R. Uprety said that since democracy and media are indispensable for guiding mankind it should work for the promotion of good governance and democracy.

Presenting a paper Shrish S. Rana said that media helps set the parameters for judging democracy and development performance by reflecting social values and system of the constitution.

Ananda Prasad Shrestha said that despite of repeated commitment the government has failed to safeguard the rights of working journalists by creating a conducive working environment. So the prevailing media policy should be reviewed to guarantee and safeguard the freedom of press and the welfare of the media people.

N. P. Upadhaya, chief editor of The Telegraph Weekly said that since the press and democracy are interrelated, it should be provided impetus for the real and effective institutionalisation of democracy and development of the country.

Prof. Dr. Ram Kumar Dahal said that since the media is the mirror of the society, the media people and press should be professionally critical and impartial.

Source: The Rising Nepal (04 December 2003)


All-party govt a must, says Nepal <Top>

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, December 2: Only a consensual government that includes all major political parties can create a conducive environment for holding talks with the Maoists, according to speakers, including CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, at a programme organised by the Centre for Study of Democracy and Good Governance in support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, here today.

"Currently, a mechanism acceptable to the people is lacking and there does not exist any ground to re-initiate the dialogue," Nepal said. He said the Palace as well as the government are forwarding a sort of "condition" to restore peace. "The government's agenda for peace has not included people's feelings and no lasting peace can be achieved without support from the public," he said adding, "Only an all-party government can bring the Maoists to the talks table."

"The peace process cannot build up at present as there isn't such a government."

Stressing the need to re-structure the society, he said, "Re-structuring of the society only can ensure lasting peace and optimum flexibility from the government is needed for societal reforms."

A scholar in conflict management, Bishnu Raj Upreti, said formation of an all-party consensual government will be the beginning of the trust-building thing among all political leaders. "There will be no long-term peaceful solution to the conflict by ignoring the parliamentary parties," he said presenting his paper. According to him, given the growing international concerns and desire of the Nepalis, the only way out is a peaceful resolution through negotiations. "If external military and political intrusions are to be prevented we need to resolve this conflict ourselves," he said adding, "The priority of the King, the Maoists and the parliamentary parties must be to "rebuild trust through collaboration, dialogue and collective action."

He further said public participation is essential to promote peace at the local level. "Civil society raises views and formulates recommendations for negotiation," he said.

"Conflict should be taken as an opportunity and it could be solved by improving the existing socio-political structure," said Subodh Pyakurel, a Human Rights activist.

Another activist, Nilambar Acharya, said the need of the hour is a government that is accepted by the people. Stressing the importance of an all-party government, he said that only a system represented by the people can deliver in the peace negotiation. People's sovereignty has to be preserved if Monarchy is to exist, he further said.

Source: The Himalayan Times (03 December 2003)


LDC’s unity brings WTO benefits <Top>

Post Report

KATHMANDU, Nov 30 - Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission Dr Shankar Sharma has said that both the developing and least developed countries (LDCs) should maintain their unified stance in order to reap the maximum benefits offered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"Lessons were learnt from Seattle and Cancun that only unity can help protect the larger interests of the South that includes developing and LDCs," Dr Sharma said. The ministerial meets of Seattle in 1999 and Cancun in 2003 had ran down after the South vehemently opposed the North’s hegemony on global trade issues.

Dr Sharma’s assertions come at a time when the developed countries, especially the United States and the European Union, are trying their best to enter into regional and bilateral deals with developing countries and LDCs with the intention of breaking the strong coalition of the lesser developed world.

The Vice-Chairman, at the same time, stressed that weaker economies need to diversify trade and enhance competitiveness in order to survive under the WTO regime. He was speaking at the inaugural session of the conference cum training entitled ‘Post Cancun Agenda for South Asia’ that will be held until 2 December.

On the occasion, Dinesh Chandra Pyakurel, Secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, said that the conference is timely as it is now necessary for South Asia to take stock of what transpired during the Cancun Ministerial and plan their future strategy.

Dr Posh Raj Pandey, President of SAWTEE said that there has been numerous failures at the multilateral level, but those failures did not inflict any serious damage to the global trading regime. "The Cancun failure has in fact given all the opportunities to introspect where and what went wrong."

Dr Pandey added that it is in the best interest of South Asia to have a rule-based multilateral trading system than to have untamed trading regime under which developed countries get free hand to develop their own unilateral legislation and practices. Highlighting the weakness of South Asia, he said, "Despite the existence of SAARC, South Asian countries could not act together in WTO Ministerial Meet, though some countries worked together in other groups. It is now imperative that South Asia take a common position for future negotiations."

Stating that Cancun failure exhibits the complexity of North-South negotiations, Dev Raj Dahal; head of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Nepal, said that achieving a more peaceful and more equitable world-order requires a global community based on negotiated consensus. That is important to create a level-playing field and to avoid distortions in trade.

"Non-implementation of WTO agreements by the rich nations, pressure on weaker countries to open their lucrative services markets while protecting their own farm sectors, and rich countries’ relentless pursuit for obtaining new concessions on investment have increased weaker nations’ vulnerability to global economic uncertainties," he said.

South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), Kathmandu, and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), Jaipur are jointly organising the three-day event in association with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Nepal, and Novib, Oxfam Netherlands.

Source: The Kathmandu Post (01 December 2003)


Politics of Liberation, Life and Choice
Country in crisis due to disharmony between state and society <Top>

Our Correspondent

Center for Social Transformation, Nepal (CST) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) organized a one-day seminar on "Energizing Social movement in Nepal for Better Social Justice," on November 21 in Kathmandu. Altogether 65 participants representing Dalit, youth, women, ethnic groups and nationalities and trade unions participated the seminar. Five theme papers were presented on ethnic, scheduled caste, youth, women and trade union movements in Nepal. The program was moderated by Prof. Krishna P. Khanal and chaired by Narahari Acharya, a central committee member of Nepali Congress Party. Participants viewed that the country is in crisis due to disharmony between the state and the society. The task for political leaders is to transform this disharmony and conflict into peace process. The role of social movements is to energize the power of public and prepare for forward-looking reforms.

Emerging social movements in Nepal capture the plurality of life-world asserting their diverse needs, rights and responsibilities before the state. This assertion is also related to the question of "state ownership" and the regeneration of political process so that it can become socially and politically representative. Most of social movements in Nepal are seeking for structural change. Especially ethnic groups are its leading exponents while Dalits, women, youth and trade unions are seeking for affirmative action. Inclusionary democracy, identity, social justice and participation are their central concerns. Prof. Khanal argued that political parties in Nepal became weak because they did not take the agenda of social movements groups when they came to power and, as a consequence, social transformation has been delayed. Narahari Acharya believed that regression and political radicalism began in the country as a result of the weakness of constitution-oriented parliamentary political parties. Five parties combine are taking the reform agenda now because of compulsion, rather than choice.

Dev Raj Dahal of FES argued that the emerging social movement of Dalits, Women, youth, trade unions and civil society in Nepal is politicizing the everyday life of Nepalese people and allowing the power of society to self-organize, communicate and effect collective action. He added, "this movement has produced a critical mass outside the hegemonic political class representing the state which is trying to construct a plural public spheres capable of representing the social microcosm of the nation into political power." The question remains can this movement combine sectoral social action with larger public action?

Source: The Telegraph Weekly (26 november 2003)


Local self government and youths <Top>

BY OUR REPORTER

Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) took the discussion in the civic education series "Civic Education: Role of Youths in Local Governance" to Janakpur and held a seminar there on 10 November 2003.

Local governance experts, political party workers, journalists and mainly teachers and academicians were assembled in this central Tarai town for the discussion. Executive director of NEFAS, Ananda Srestha welcoming the participants said, "We believe that youths have an important role to play in consolidating democracy in Nepal. We are not here to impose some imported ideas on you, but we rather seek to collect ideas that you have regarding civic education in Nepal." There is a need to answer questions like, 'How can youths be mobilized to use local resources?' Or, 'How can youths help the society in general?' We know that human rights and a sense of justice helps youths to fulfill their responsibility towards the society," he said and asked the participants to provide comments to the presentations about to be made so that they could provide a valuable input to the publication being planned. He also lauded the contributions of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) for its continuous support to NEFAS's nationwide project on civic education.

After the brief address, the working sessions began to discuss the issues of the day. Ram Kumar Dahal, a political scientist, made his presentation on "Role of Youths in Local Self-Governance" first, followed by "Civic Education for the Young Generation", a joint presentation by Khagendra Prasain and Shiv Raj Dahal. The sessions were chaired by a local university teacher, Dr. Shivendra Lal Karna.

During the discussion session, Kishori Shah, advocate, said that the Constitution has been praised for being complete, but he found that that was silent on local governance. Rulers were appeared to think that they therefore need to fill the void by forming their own laws regarding local governance. The paper should have pointed at this lacuna.

"Youths should have been mobilized for Nepal's industrial development. And the fault lies with the electoral system which allows the minority to rule the majority. The electoral process should also bar leaders from standing up for public posts unless they acquire the necessary education qualification" he said.

Shital Jha, political activist, pointed out that villages are vacant and youths are not around. "Not only brain drain, but, more importantly, youth drain should have been taken up as an issue that the government should be taking care of", he remarked.

Uday Kant Thakur, RPP activist, opined that until the right of participation is ensured by law, youths cannot play their role. He said, "The Panchayat system had a separate constituency for youths, but not today. We should think about involving youths in governance by raising the issue of right to participation".

Bijay Kumar Lal, economist, commented that the workshop papers only mentioned that youth participation is necessary but doesn't say how.

Dr. Surendra Lal Karna asked to specify the type of youth when they talk of youth - village youth, educated youth, illiterate youth, urban youth or any other kind of youth.

Bimal Kant Jha, school teacher, expressed the view that the condition of youths was perhaps the most pitiable in Nepal, whether that was regarding education, poverty or the general environment in the country.

"The first step towards alleviating their plight needs to be taken at the grassroots at the pre-primary level," he said.

"The education system is creating a wall and distorting our own traditions, cultures and value systems. I do not see any relation between what we are discussing today and the capacity of the education system to deliver as of today." Prakash Chandra Shah, engineer, questioned on which were the sectors that youths needed to be involved and what were their roles?

"Politicians need to have some specific skills to deal with people,' he opined.

Sunil Kumar Mandal, school teacher, pointed out on youths making aware about the environmental destruction that takes place with infrastructure development.

BM Khanal, journalist, described that democracy did not come to Nepal after people were made sufficiently aware about the system. "We take the right to information as the biggest achievement. In spite of the right being mentioned in the Constitution, we still have debates", he said.

Another journalist Rajesh Karna said that there were inconsistencies regarding the age that qualifies on to be a youth - at 18, you can vote, while you need to be 25 to stand up for elections. "And at which age does youth end", he questioned.

Also journalist Rabindra Shah commented on International forces appeared to be trying to inflict disabilities in our youth. "The have started by polluting education - we never had the chance of reading about our culture and religion in textbooks, but plenty about alien culture and religion", he said.

Prof. Ram Kumar made his comment: "You talk of politics as being dirty, and then later talk about participation in politics to correct things. You talk a lot about the dirtiness but not on the ability of politics to do things".

"Regarding leadership, you have not mentioned the need to fulfill promises by politicians. I think that the political problem lies in the utter disregard for this aspect of politics".

Digamber Raya said that education needs to be healthy, if there are problems in the education system, social problems abound. "That is the problem with us at the moment".

Ram Chandra Shah made a strange question: "You talk of infant democracy. When was democracy born? Whatever is born will die. When will it die? You also say, democracy has failed. Democracy never sat for exams, why should it succeed or fail?"

"It is politics that is pushing youths away from the country," he further said.

Minaxi Jha opined: "I do not think that democracy has failed. All this has happened because people were not aware, not because of the failure of democracy".

Source: People's Review (20-26 November 2003)


Integrated efforts only pill for S Asian ills <Top>

Kathmandu, November 7: Experts have argued that South Asian countries should priortise on action-oriented and integrated approach to deal with the existing problems in health, social development, poverty alleviation and trade. Goals cannot be achieved if the problems are left uncared, they stated at a seminar on "Future of South Asia: A new generational Perspective" organised today by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Formulation and implementation of strategies and policies with dogged pursuits, including integrated and comprehensive approach, are sure-footed in achieving overall goals of development in South Asia, they maintained.

Ambassador-at-large Dr Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, giving his keynote address, emphasised an urgent need to promote socio-economic situation in South Asia saying that the major thrust should be laid on development, poverty alleviation and trade. "South Asian countries should now gear themselves up in developing trade to set a recognition in the world," said Dr Thapa. He also emphasised the need of smooth bilateral relationship in the region. Citing the existing problems, he stated that SAARC should be regarded as a region of resources and not only of problems. SAARC secretary-general QAMA Rahim maintained that the South Asian countries should focus on action-oriented approach to reduce poverty by fifty per cent by 2015, according to the SAARC agreement. He also stated that a number of initiatives had been taken to enhance people to people contact, reduction of visa fee among the SAARC countries, and social development. Presenting a paper on Security in South Asian: A Future Perspective, Nishchal Nath Pandey, deputy executive director at the Institute of Foreign Affairs, said that the political crisis in the South Asian countries mirrors the inability of their governments to address the growing poverty resulting to social problems. A home to 23 per cent of the world's population, South Asia remains horrifically caught in conflict and perpetual tension and hosts one of the largest number of refugees in the entire world, he said. Pandey suggested that it would prove useful if SAARC be formally involved in dealing with the refugee process and not bilateralism rather than a regional structure.

President of the Nepal Britain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Rajendra Kumar Khetan, maitained that Nepal needs to develop a mechanism whereby entire efforts of the country would be geared towards a single goal. Khetan also argued that the Vision 2020 of Nepal should clearly underline the target of reducing incidence in the country from the present 38 per cent to 10 per cent.

Source: The Himalayan Times (8 November 2003)


Journos should work towards minimising conflict <Top>

Post Report

GODABARI, Nov 4 - With the objective of informing working journalists, media trainers and educators about peace and diversity journalism, a four-day- workshop has begun here from today.

Altogether 16 participants, comprising media trainers, media educators and working journalists both from print and electronic media are participating at the workshop organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES).

Joergen Eric Klussmann, a peace journalism expert from Germany, media educator Ram Krishna Regmi, senior journalists Dhruba Hari Adhikari and Shrish S. Rana and Dr. Durga Pokhrel, chairman of the National Women’s Commission, are the facilitators of the workshop.

On the first day of the workshop today, media educator Ram Krishna Regmi presented a working paper on "The History of Nepalese Conflict" and German expert Joergen Eric Klussmann informed the participants about different aspects of conflict and the role of journalists to minimise the intensity of conflicts.

Outlining the history of conflict in Nepal, senior journalist Regmi said that the Maoist insurgency is linked to the 1990 movement and the constitution formulated a year later.

Alleging media of not giving due priority and failing to cover conflict-related issues right on the spot, Regmi expressed his worries that media is being used by both parties in conflict to serve their political interests.

He urged the media to be very careful while handling conflict-related issues and to ensure that news carried out by them do not trigger new kinds of violence. "Media should now be motivated to initiate conflict reporting since media has a responsibility to initiate building peace process through the flow of unbiased information," he said.

Informing the participants about conflict reporting, German expert Joergen Erik Klussmann expressed that journalists should act responsibly to minimise the intensity of the conflict

Taking part in the discussion at the workshop, Dev Raj Dahal of FES said that the country is losing its monopoly of state power needed for peace, stability, democracy and development. He remarked that the conflicting interests and behaviour of political activists are producing disjunctive discourses and causing deadlock in the macro-politics of the country.

Source: The Kathmandu Post (5 November 2003)


Experts exhort overhaul of govt media policy <Top>

KATMANDU, Nov 2 (PR) - Expressing their worries over non-implementation of media policies, media experts today underlined the need for a review of the existing media policy to suit the growing media industry.

"There are activities going on against existing media policies, which is a serious concern of the time," Harihar Birahi, chairman of Press Council Nepal said.

Speaking at a workshop on Media Commission for Promoting Professionalism, and Review of Media Policy, Birahi criticized the government for its failure to pay attention to punish those who have been terrorizing and threatening journalists in the present situation of national crisis. The programme was organized by Press Chautari Nepal, a forum of left-aligned professional journalists in the country.

Addressing the inaugural session of the workshop media expert and media advisor of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, P. Kharel opined that the existing media policy was not comprehensive, as it does not cover media support systems, radio and television. "There is no policy for radio and television and code of conduct for electronic media," he said, demanding the government make FM license awarding policies transparent.

Yubaraj Pandey, former Director General of the Department of Information, presented a working paper on Some Aspects of Nepalese Media Policy. "There are many things in the media policies yet to be implemented," he said while presenting the paper.

Source: The Katmandu Post (3 November 2003)



Lack of civic education hampers democratisation <Top>

KATHMANDU, Oct. 19: Lack of civic education in the recent decades has weakened the process of democratisation, particularly after the restoration of democracy in 1990.

The process of democratisation has been severely affected by social alienation and frustration among the people in the society.

The degree of frustration and alienation has been on the rise since the mid-1990s. If this trend continues unchecked, the country's political, economic and social transformation will be jeopardised.

The main reason behind the social unrest and violence is the lack of interaction among the people in the society. Moreover, civic education for youths is important to commit them towards the process of nation building. Their role in consolidating the process of governance is significant in strengthening the democratic process.

Speaking at a programme on "Civic Education: The Role of Youth in Local Self-Governance," organised by the Nepal Foundation for Advanced studies (NEFAS) in association with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), sociologists, economists and political scientists today emphasised the importance of civic education.

They noted that civic education would help youths to share their experience for the promotion of society.

Prof. Guna Nidhi Sharma pointed out the need to maintain harmony between various generations. Social development is not possible unless the people in the society develop a certain confidence.

Country director of the FES Dev Raj Dahal noted that the roots of civic competence often lie on the edge of political consciousness.

Alienation of the younger generation of citizens from the democratic and development process and suppression of their voice and visibility strip them of their responsibilities, he said.

He further said that lack of civic education erodes their capacity to understand appropriate solutions to social problems such as poverty, inequality, discrimination, and pursue the project of common good.

Presenting a working paper on the role of youths in local self governance, Prof. Ram Kumar Dahal said that the youths in the society should be encouraged to take part in social, political and economic activities. The society cannot move forward by keeping them aside, he added.

Prof. Dahal further said that the government and the civil society should encourage youths to be active partners in the process of national development.

Presenting their papers, sociologists Khagendra Prasai and Shiv Raj Dahal said that the level of judgement had eroded among the youths in the society. Lack of civic education among the youths has affected the process of development, they said.

NEFAS had organised the seminar with the objective of gathering views from people representing different walks of life. According to NEFAS, similar interaction programmes will be organised in different parts of the country in the near future.

Source: The Rising Nepal (20 October 2003)



Change in attitude necessary for equal opportunities <Top>

Kathmandu, Sept 26: Even though the constitution of the Kingdom on Nepal-1990 has guaranteed all equal rights, a big chunk of the country's population, especially women and the dalits, continue to be ignored by the society and the state.

Exclusion of women and the downtrodden from developmental activities is the major reason behind tardy economic growth and social unrest, say social scientists and women activists.

Progress is not feasible by keeping the majority of the population away from the mainstream of development. This only instigates violence and social unrest, they said.

Speaking at a program on Gender experience in Nepal Idea Exchange, organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), experts emphasised the need to ensure equal rights in real terms.

The development of a country is not possible without providing its citizens equal rights, they said.

Economist Dr. Mina Acharya, said that the state should play a dynamic role in uplifting the status of women and downtrodden in the society.

Dr. Acharya further said that attitudinal change was a must to bring about changes in the society, although significant changes had taken place over the years.

Dev Raj Dahal of FES Nepal noted that awareness among the people was important for economic and social development. Exclusion of a large number of people triggers disparity, he addes.

Bishnu Rimal, general secretary of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) said that the trade unions are playing a significant role in empowering the dalits and women in the society.

Source: The Rising Nepal (27 September 2003)


Civic education essential for social values <Top>

KATHMANDU, Aug 18: Sociologists and pundits of political science in the country have emphasised the need for educating young generations about civics so that the people understand social phenomenon help to the society.

The main reason of conflict and confrontation is due to lack of understanding social values that many people are not aware of. They should be politically conscious as how social dynamics works said sociologists.

Sharing ideas at a discussion programme organised by the Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) they said that civic education should begin at primary level so that the students at higher level understand the essence of social values.

When a person lacks knowledge as how the social dynamics functions, others could manipulate him. Therefore every person at every streams of knowledge should understand the social dynamics and politics, they added.

Dev Raj Dahal of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung said that knowledge of society is essential for smooth functioning of social activities.

Prof. Ganga Thapa stressed the need for generating awareness at the grassroots level.

Anand Shrestha, executive director of NEFAS said that social awareness among young generations was essential for social development.

Khagendra prasain and Shiva Raj Dahal also spoke on the occasion.

Source: The Rising Nepal (19 August 2003)


External Assistance <Top>

Experts argue that the UN is uniquely placed to help Nepal pull itself out of its quagmire

By AKSHAY SHARMA

What is the first thing a country should do when it discovers it can no longer solve its problems on its own? Search for external help. The identification of a genuinely committed and credible partner makes all the difference.

The Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) recently organized a discussion among experts from various fields on conflict in Nepal to provide a scholarly perspective to the extent of the prevailing situation and efforts aimed at alleviating it.

About 66 participants took part in the discussions, which were divided into five sessions over two days. The first session introduced the theme of the discussions while the remaining four were working sessions where experts made their presentations and solicited opinions of the participants. The seminar, which was held on May 17 and 18, was a joint initiative of NEFAS and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Professor Ananda Srestha, NEFAS executive director, introduced the theme of the discussions to the participants. He asked the participants to seek the reasons that had kept the Nepali society peaceful for a long time. "Searching for a solution in the rich Nepali traditions may produce a solution to the rising conflicts," he said.

Yadav Kant Silwal, who chaired the inaugural session, said that conflict resolution could be a very twisting process in Nepal. Pointing to the Sri Lankan experience, he said that in spite of the efforts put in from both international and domestic quarters, the insurgency there is still continuing.

Silwal, an acclaimed diplomat who is also a former secretary-general of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation - which groups Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal Pakistan and Sri Lanka - said United Nations mediation would have produced a better outcome in Nepal.

"Because the UN had offered it, it had a high credibility, its vested interests were limited to the development of this country and Nepal had participated in its peacekeeping operations since the fifties, hence, is a good candidate," he said. "UN role would allay many apprehensions about Nepal going on the path of Sikkim," he added.

Regarding the ongoing peace talks between the government and the CPN (Maoists), Silwal said, "It is a sad fact that both sides to take up the economic and social agenda, thus far, which have been touted as the root cause of all conflicts in Nepal. It is this that is going to make the talks a long and tortuous process," he said.

But, as experts say, geography plays a big role in these types of issues. Moreover, the conflict in Sri Lanka is very different in nature from the one in Nepal. The Maoists have fought with a political agenda, while the conflict in Sri Lanka is ethnically motivated. As such, the nature and scope of mediation would go on to influence the long-term prospects of the country.

Associate Professor Dev Raj Dahal, in his paper titled "Conflict Resolution: A Note on Contending Issues," explored the theoretical aspects of conflict in general with references of Nepal and other countries. Those who commented on his paper were, among others, Prof. Guna Nidhi Sharma, Shrish Rana, K.R. Jha, and Lal Babu Yadav. Ananda Aditya chaired the session.

Dr. Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan spoke on "Sociological Perspectives on Internal Conflict Resolution/Management in Nepal". He pointed out to the injustices meted out to ethnic groups of Nepal by state policies.

The exercise threw up valuable inputs on ways of pulling Nepal out of what is acknowledged as the worst crisis in its modern history. Whether those responsible for doing the job are listening to - and are even capable of implementing - the suggestions is a different matter altogether.

Source: Spotlight (13-19 June 2003)


Foreigners told to keep off Nepal affairs <Top>

The intelligentsia in Kathmandu is unhappy with the excessive interest of foreign envoys and diplomats in Nepal's affairs and their prescription of solutions to the problems plaguing Nepal.

However, despite the mention of 'foreign hands' in 'shaping' the recent political developments in the country, the only person who came in for flak from the intelligentsia at a seminar organised here today was the British ambassador to Nepal, Keith G Bloomfield.

Bloomfield has been very vocal in the media about political developments in Nepal and has

also suggested ways to get things on track.

"The British ambassador cannot talk about Nepal as if it is Britain," said Neelamber Acharya, a Leftist intellectual. "We have a democracy that is not as mature."

The British ambassador should understand the circumstances and factors that gave rise to the political problems, Acharya said, adding a solution that works for Britain does not work for Nepal. "The two countries cannot be compared. We have entirely different situations."

Talking about the Maoist problem and the King's October 4 and subsequent moves, Acharya said both the King and the Maoists have attacked democracy, though they have maintained their moves were to "right the wrongs".

"A force within the palace never accepted the movement of 1990," he said, adding it is the King's courtiers who have been playing the game. "The faults that the political parties made in the 12 years have been exploited by such forces."

Acharya said his own prescription for the political problems is the restoration of the House of Representatives and amendment of the constitution. He was speaking at a seminar on democracy and the possibility of peace organised by the Centre for Consolidation of Democracy.

Pradeep Giri, member of the central working committee of the Nepali Congress (Democratic), said the Maoists are committing a mistake by disregarding the process for peace. "The process is very important in democracy and Maoists do not seem to understand that," he said, adding the process can be right only when there is proper representation of the people. He also said the Maoist movement is partly inspired by Mao's ideology, Marx's thoughts and 'elemental fury' of the people.

Human rights activist Krishna Pahadi blamed the monarchy for creating more disorder in a situation already messed up by the political parties.

Former foreign minister Shailendra Kumar Upadhyay said a consensus among the political parties trusted by the people would provide a way out of the problems.

Source: The Himalayan Times (7 June 2003)

(National seminar organised by CCD in cooperation with FES in Kathmandu)


Political actors ignoring people: Experts <Top>

The political actors, who are trying to find a role and representation in the present political scenario, have forgotten the prime actor: the people, an expert said here today.

The three actors - the Maoists, the King and the political parties supporting the multi-party democracy have forgotten the mass, said sociologist Dr Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan at a programme here today. "The supreme but marginalised actor is the Nepali people, who in reality have been used as means rather than ends," he said.

Presenting his paper on sociological perspectives on internal conflict resolution/management at the two day seminar on conflict resolution in Nepal organised by Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Dr Bhattachan said that the fourth major actor in Nepal's conflict are the external powers especially India and United States. "Although, external powers in general want to see peace, democracy and development in Nepal, the US has expressed its concerns with reference to second category of terrorism and India has always interfered in Nepal's internal affairs due to their interest."

Foreign influence, particularly India's interests affects Nepal's politics and conflicts, said Yubaraj Sangraula presenting another paper. "The crisis between India and Pakistan is often spilled over in Nepal in the shape of their proxy war," he said adding that Chinese interest is related to the Tibetan issue.

According to advocate Sangraula, the American interest is mainly related to India and China and has very little to do with Nepal's politics. "The suppression of Maoists is more or less an ideological agenda for American diplomacy in Nepal," he said. "The resolution of the problem by political compromise or mediation is a least priority of the American policy."The involvement of third party in the dialogue is important for the fairness of the process and best observance of the agreements reached between the two parties sitting across the negotiating table, said Sangraula in his paper on Dynamics of continuing conflict in Nepal: A geo-political perspective. He recommended United Nations or Scandanivian country's involvement as the mediators as the best possible option since they are unlikely to have their particular interests. He ruled out India or China mediating talks as both have their own political leanings and interests in Nepal.

Dr Bhattachan recommended federalism, ethnic linguistic and regional autonomy and sub autonomy within autonomy, proportional representation and special measures such as affirmative action to resolve the problems.

The paper presenters put the blame on failure to develop and integrate people's participation in governance, lack of good governance as the causes of escalation of conflict.

Source: The Himalayan times (19 May 2003)


Economic disparity causing conflicts <Top>

Kathmandu, May 18: Prominent sociologists and legal experts today said that a lasting solution to conflicts was impossible unless the gap between the haves and have-nots was reduced first. Economic disparity is the prime cause of conflicts, they said.

Managing conflict is a very delicate and complex process, hence various limitations in handling the problem should be acknowledged, they said.

Prof. Guna Nidhi Sharma, speaking at a programme on Conflict resolution, said that unequal distribution of resources had given rise to various types of conflicts including social, linguistic and political.

The ultimate solution to every problem is associated with the economy and distribution of income. Therefore, each conflciting group should have equal access to national income, he noted.

Prof. Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan said that conflict resolution addresses the causes of conflict and seeks to build new and lasting relationships between various hostile groups in a society.

Regarding tools for conflict resolution, he said there were different tools for different policies of conflict resolution. "For instance, official diplomacy may include mediation, negotiation, conciliation, peace conference, informal consultations and good offices.
"Military measures may include miniaturization, demilitarised zones, arms control agreement, disarmament and peace enforcement. Political and governance measures may include constitutional change, election reforms and power sharing arrangements. Similarly judicial measures may include an constituent assembly," he said.

The desirable approach to resolution of conflict is problem solving or compromise, he added.

Yuba Raj Sangraula, a senior advocate said that a socio-political problem is an outcome of a long-standing conflict of interests between contituent members or groups in the society and as such the solution lies on agreement of the both parties.

He further said that no party in the socio-political crisis or problem is fully wrong; the issue of injustice and working is relative.

Sangraula said that the dynamics had been fully ignored in the previous dialogue between the government and the Maoists. The government in the past ignored the dynamic that the other party had a strong interest to defend and it was not possible for them to agree at the cost of their socio-political interest.

Former diplomat Keshav R. Jha stressed the need to find the root cause of the problem. Trading charges and counter-charges among conflicting groups in the society does not help anybody, he said.

Dr. Bharat Pokharel said that multiple factors relating to the emergence of conflicts should be taken into consideration while finding solutions to the conflicts.

The programme was organised by the Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS).

Source: The Rising Nepal (19 May 2003)


Intellectuals for all-party presence in peace talks <Top>

If the country is to see permanent resolution to the conflict all the parties need to participate in the dialogue said intellectuals here today.

"Permanent resolution of the conflict requires wider participation of all the parties - those that are left out, potential and actual stakeholders and their interest mediation rather than just those of conflicting parties," said development expert Dev Raj Dahal presenting a paper at a seminar on conflict resolution in Nepal.

"Nepali negotiators must learn from the mistakes of the power equation approach to conflict settlement that was applied to terminate 1990 movement for the restoration of democracy. Peace cannot be created if the outcome of negotiation creates its own enemies."

According to him, in Nepal the destruction of state institutions, personal rule of incumbent party leadership and patronage-based politics helped fuel conflicts, Dahal said.

His suggestion was that a new distribution of power in the state and increased interdependence among hostile parties can induce substantial changes in the pattern of relationship among them. "Interdependence, in conjunction with the parties' interests, might create different patterns of conflict development," he said. "Transformation of interests can be pursued as a way of improving the pattern of conflict structure, this can be done by means of increasing convergence of interests in the context of nurturing the parties' interdependence."

The government-Maoist conflict in Nepal until recently assumed structural features. "One, however, also notices structural shift in the two's attitude when both noticed the costs of geopolictical implications of the protracted conflict," he said at the programme organised by Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES).

Ananda P Shrestha, executive director of NEFAS said that transformation is inevitable as Nepal experiments with economic development models, political systems and even social lifestyles.

"Management of this transformation requires a profound knowledge of exisiting traditions deeply embedded in the society," he said.

He said that the ongoing peace negotiations should be handled with extreme care, warning

that failure to do so would give way to the outside powers, regional or international, to fish in troubled waters. "It is imperative that the warring parties steer clear of external influences and find a remedy in the national interest through indigenous means," Shrestha said. Economist Gunanidhi Sharma blamed the conflict on widespread disparity.

According to Sharma, external interests are augmenting the conflicts in the country. "This is an extreme scenario of helplessness here," he said.

Source: The Himalayan Times (18 May 2003)


Access to resources Key to confilct resolution <Top>

Kathmandu, May 17: As the peace talks between His Majesty's Government and the Communist party of Nepal-Maoist are in progress, the country's sociologists, political analysts and economists exclusively discussed how the dialogue could be made more fruitful.

The conflict management has been a sensitive issue across the globe today. Various factors associated with conflicts should be analysed while trying to thrash out solutions, they said. The nature of conflict varies from one country to another; therefore solutions cannot be the same, they said adding, "The issue of equitable distribution of national resources among the people should be taken into consideration,"

At a national seminar on "Conflict Resolution in Nepal", organised by the Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS), former secretary general at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Yadav Kant Silwal said that the features of conflict should be well diagnosed while tackling the problem Managing conflict is a very delicate and complex process, hence various limitations in handling the problem should be acknowledged, he said.

Talking about the involvement of the United Nations (UN) in assuring the peace talks, he said, "UN participation in the dialogue would be more effective because of its credibility."

Nepal has already projected its image by contributing to the UN peace making and peace building process since 1968, hence it would be easier for Nepal to seek such assistance from the UN, he said.

Apart from the UNO, there are other international organisations like the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Asian Development Bank (ADB), which have made significant contributions in bridging gap between rich and poor in Nepal. They have been assisting Nepal in its development endeavours, he added.

Executive director of the NEFAS, Ananda P Shrestha said that the management of social transformation seamlessly requires a profound knowledge of the existing traditions deeply embedded in the society and the know-how of making the change should bring about more problems that already exist.

Despite having ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious diversities, it still remained one of the most peaceful countries in the world, he added.

Talking about the issue of Conflict Resolution, Dev Raj Dahal, a sociologist and defence analyst, said that the triangular fight among the mainstream political parties, the government and CPN-Maoist in the country holds much potential to conflict dynamics due to the nation's sensitive geography. "If not managed properly, it can easily threaten the safety and well-being of Nepal citizens and engulf them into a cycle of violence and counter violence, " he said.

Dr. Mina Acharya, while speaking about the issues relating to the Conflict Transformation said that there were various issues including economic, social and gender that have influenced the conflict dynamics to a great extent.

While commenting the views put forth by Dr. Acharya and Dahal, Prof. Guna Nidhi Sharma said that economic issues always play a vital role in conflict dynamics.

The views presented in the seminar are expected to render some guidelines to the government-Maoist talks.

The programme was organised in association of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES)

Source: The Rising Nepal (18 May 2003)


Call to check foreign investment in media <Top>

Post Report

KATHMANDU, April 6 : Minister for Information and Communications Ramesh Nath Pandey today warned that foreign investment in national media could bring "serious consequences in future if it was not checked in time.

"We all know that foreign investment in media is coming in through the back door. Now we need to control it by ourselves otherwise it could bring serious results in future," the minister cautioned. Pandey however didn’t mention of any newspaper being run on foreign investment in Nepal.

Addressing a national discussion programme attended by editors from across the country, the minister urged domestic media, which seeks transparency from the state, to be transparent in their investment and functioning.

Speaking at the one-day discussion entitled Press Freedom and Transparency, organised by Editor’s Society, the editors gathered here raised voices against hidden foreign investment.

P.Kharel, media advisor of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), was of the opinion that though transparency of media is taken seriously in case of media abroad, media here are not taking it the same way. "Our media needs to make their investment, accounting, advertising and circulation transparent, besides implementing policies relating to press," Kharel said.

Other speakers were of the opinion that press freedom could not be enjoyed and prosper in the presence of foreign investment in media. "Press cannot be free and press freedom can not be enjoyed as long as there is foreign investment in domestic media," said Govinda Biyogi, chairman of the Editor’s Society.

Among those opposing foreign investment in media was foreign policy expert Hiranya Lal Shrestha. Shrestha was of the opinion that such investment has not come simply for making profits. "The investment has come to expand ‘influence of the influential," he added.

Tara Nath Dahal, chairman of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, underlined the need to amend the Foreign Investment Act and black list foreign investments in the media.

The government is evading its responsibility of checking foreign investment in media, merely by admitting that such investment has entered the country, said Gopal Giri, a member of the Editor’s Society. He also demanded that the media publish their balance sheets every year.

Source: The Kathmandu Post (07 April 2003)


Telegraph /FES media seminar: Excessively biased media has done little in favor of the nation’s youths and system'’ <Top>

Kathmandu: Nepal’s noted academicians, youth activists and the widely acclaimed media men have voiced their concerns regarding the sorry state of Nepali youths who, according to them, remain in utter confusion and direction-less due to the sheer negligence exhibited by the State over the years towards their pressing issues and problems.

The same set also concurrently expressed their anxiety over the dismal performance of the Nepali media in addressing to the issues of the youths and called upon the government to devise schemes that took care of the problems of the youths in order to tap the immense potential what the youths possess in them which could be later used for the benefit of the nation.

The scholars also lamented over the attitudes of the political leaders and their parties in having defined the democratic system in a manner that suited to their political tilts and urged the major political actors to refrain from doing so in the larger interest of the system and the nation as well.

This they said while attending a one-day media seminar entitled "Youth, Media and Democracy", jointly organized by the Telegraph Weekly in close cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung last Friday.

Welcoming the galaxy of scholars attending the seminar at the inaugural session, the chief editor of the Telegraph Weekly, Mr. N.P.Upadhyaya said that the governments formed after 1990 were summarily to be blamed for the present plight of the Nepali youths who find themselves in a very pathetic situation today.

"Th media too remained a silent spectator to the plight of the Nepali youths. Instead of informing the youths, we disinformed them", added Upadhyaya.

Former president of the Federation of Nepalese journalists, Mr. Suresh Acharya, said that the October 4 events have raised doubts whether the Nepali media would be allowed to practice media freedom as guaranteed by the constitution.

The Kathmandu district president of the FNJ, Mr. Hari Lamsal, opined that various efforts were in the offing to do away with the plight of the small weekly newspapers.

Scholar Anand Aditya highlighted the role of the media and the youths in a democracy like ours.

"The Nepali media has a tremendous role to play in order to strengthen the system. It has also a role in pressing the establishment to look into the matters related to the plight of the youths who appear disillusioned by the existing chaotic state of the nation’s politics as it stood today", said Anand Aditya.

The Public Relations Officer at the US Embassy. Ms. Constance Colding Jones, the chief guest of the seminar said that "in a democracy, the media have a civic duty as well particularly to the young people—to inform, to teach, to uplift, to stretch, to enlarge the capacities of thinking, to deepen understanding, explain the world and teach the great traditions of freedom".

The chief guest made it abundantly clear that the media can and should itself become an example by presenting balanced information, by abstaining from propagating wild rumors, by examining stories to make sure they represented the facts.

She also said that the media men must frame a code of ethics and practice on how to remain within the limits of the code thus charted while reporting an event. ( Her speech will appear next week—ed).

The first session saw a working paper presentation by a noted sociologist of the country , Dr. Krishna Bhattachan who said that "the current degeneration in politics and escalating violence and counter violence in insurgency situation was primarily due to the exclusionary, highly centralized, West Minister model of democracy"’. According to Dr. Bhattachan, what was needed instead was a multi-caste/ethnic, language, religion, culture and region and which is what constitutes an "inclusive democracy". ( See the full text in second page-ed).

Speaking from the chair, Professor Mohd. Habibullah said that certain political aberrations were seen at the moment which he hoped would vanish time permitting.

Poof. Dr. Ram Kumar Dahal, yet another political scientist of repute, presented his paer on th same topic wherein he maintained that the "triangular relationship among the youths, media and democracy in today’s globalised world has become a subject matter of prime concern in any political and social system and hence it would be important to note here that the youths are the subjects of socialization within the nation-state, the media are the means of such socialization and democracy, thus, become a value or ideal to be achieved both by the subjects and the means".

Speaking from the Chair, Mr. Shrish Rana, a widely acclaimed political analyst, said that the excessively biased Nepali media had done little all along these democratic years to address the genuine grievances of the people and that the youths too must not become the political tools of various political parties.

Source: The Telegraph Weekly (01 January 2003)


Don’t spoil the youths! <Top>

The first offspring of Nepal’s two great democratic shifts—in the 1950s and 1990s, the political opening and activism, and provisions of fundamental civic and human rights were heralded by none other than the then youths. The country has grown since then at a frantic pace for the post 52 years. The country’s massive poverty, inequality, rampant corruption at the highest political echelons, ever growing debt and social prejudices threaten to undermine the nation’s development. Recent history did not provide a "role model" as promised to by the namesake democratic leaders for the country’s youths to emulate. Despite more than two hundred plus years of the nation’s history the basic question for the "survival of people" remains unsettled. Nepal needs today a generation of the youth that will handle the nation’s historic task of maintaining democratic identity judiciously with greater respect for the rule of law, the universal principle of fairness and the idea of freedom.

The Nepalese media cultures rooted as they are in societal interest groups have miserably failed in inculcating youth in the ideals, institutions and practices of democratic aspirations and converting them into a "model citizenship" that is capable of discharging responsibility fallen upon them by the Spirit of the Age. Media as it stands today even failed to educate them about their civic rights and the accompanying duties. They unfortunately debate only on their prerogatives of the journalists, the owners of their papers and their exclusive rights underlined in the constitution. This is the reason "youths" of Nepal are looking for a "moral anchor" so that they can relieve themselves from the "behind-the scene-maneuver" types of political culture and help them enable to set themselves on a constitutional path. Negativism and passivism projected by the media of late into the delicate minds of the present day youths have contributed to the alienation of youths from the society, migration broad, resorting to fatalism and, even rebellion tendencies. These tendencies all put together are lethal enemies of democracy, modernity and human rights. How to overcome these deadly dangerous tendencies and bring the already derailed youths to "cognitive consonance", positivism and patriotism is the major challenge of the Nepalese media. How youths can become a part of the community and set the community work together are intrinsically linked to strengthen the cohesion and harmony of civil society and the state. Media as a cornerstone of modernity can also mediate the ties between "youthful idealism", and the "reality of the nation", between freedom of choice provided by the constitution in place and the anti-constitutional tendencies of Nepal’s totally corrupt elite and set off the process of reformative politics in the nation. We believe, the media have a positive role to play both to have transformatory potential and communicative and socially integrative content. The nation’s future lies on the youths of the nation which means they must engage in promoting social tranquility and peace.

With these keeping in mind, this modest newspaper in cooperation with the German Foundation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung organized a media seminar last week entitled Youth, Media and Democracy with the primary objective of highlighting the role of our own sector in character building of the youths of Nepal so as to ensure democratic future of this nation; help overcome negative feelings among today’s youths by formulating a matrix of values to socialize the youths to loyalty to the society and have an abiding and deep sense of community; and finally to establish youth-media interface and position their responsibility not just remaining agents of bargaining and compromise their sectoral interests, but to the interest of the now the society as a whole.

The kind of scholars, mediamen and the youths alike participated in the said seminar and forwarded their comments on the topic of the seminar must now jerk the government to begin paying attention to the sector which has remained ever neglected from the very beginning of the 1990 for obvious political reasons. It is time that the political parties too who in one way or the other used the youths as their political tools should abandon in doing so in the larger interest of the youths in particular and of the nation in general. It is also time concurrently for the youths to ascertain as to which forces exploited their vast potentials till to date to get misused for achieving their political gains which in the process made them to deflect from obtaining their cherished career. It is time that the political parties come to their senses and allow the country’s youths to pave their fate on their own. No more interference please in to their career.

It is also time that the country’s youths converge and unite in safeguarding their career by summarily rejecting to become the tools of political parties.

Source: Editorial, The Telegraph Weekly (01 January 2003)
 
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