Training/Seminar on Initiatives for Democracy
Building: Roles & Responsibilities of Journalists in Voters
and Civic Education
Organised by National Media Development
26-27 July 2007, Surkhet,
It has been found out that Nepali people are
more concerned with the democratization process of the country.
Political imbalance, their disgusting activities at different
regions and thin sight of the political leaders, the Terai,
Bhabar Pradesh and Janajati issue is getting intertwined. Nepali
people are a dozen steps ahead of than the leaders of eight
political parties. The single voice of the participant journalists
and people of the Mid-west region is that the parties should
be above than their petty political and individual interest
and the journalists people should be more responsible to inform
the people and set a concrete idea in relation with the CA poll.
Large parts of the population including media
people are not yet clear about the difference between CA Election
and parliamentary election. For the first time in history the
people of Nepal are expecting to be involved to make their own
Constitution through Constituent Assembly (CA) election. Political
parties are not clear enough or they do not like to tell the
truth to the people. But, CA election is vibrantly important
for the institutionalization of democracy, maintaining rule
of law and good governance including economic development of
the country. Journalists always remained in forefront in democratic
movement of Nepal and it is the only wide reach and effective
means in educating the people to make CA election happen. Therefore,
journalists must be well informed on CA issue and its aspects
being responsible and accountable before informing the people
through their respective media.
National Media Development Center (NMDC) a
media management and journalism training, and research center
established for the empowerment of provincial media has been
involved in various activities. One of the major current missions
of the NMDC is to empower district media-journalists so that
they will be able in bringing the voice of voiceless and campaign
for representation of excluded and marginalized in CA elections.
As per the NMDC's strategic plan to organize
14 zonal level media training program on: Democracy building:
Roles and Responsibilities of journalists in voters and civic
education, it has organized 3-zonal level programs at Palpa,
Kathmandu and Surkhet in cooperation with Department of Information
(DOI) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). The two programs at
Kathmandu and Surkhet was supported by the Foreign Ministry
of Germany in coordination with FES Nepal office. So far, in
total, 138 editors and reporters of 16 districts participated
in our program and got an opportunity to learn more about CA
and their role in election reporting.
In this Surkhet program editors and journalists
of all districts of the proposed zone were invited and made
them involved in a group work to discuss on democracy, CA, CA
procedures, electoral process and system, state mechanism, federal
system and, voters rights and roles and responsibilities of
journalists. The objective of the training is to widen participant's
knowledge on democracy, CA election issues and make them able
to disseminate content-wise information fairly and impartially
to the people.
This is the progress report of the two-day
Training/seminar organized in SURKHET mid-west in co-operation
with FES Nepal on 26-27 July 2007.
Rational of the two-day program
Surkhet is the headquarter of Bheri zone that
lies in mid-west Nepal which has 5 districts belonging 2 districts
in Terai and 3 in remote hills. Except Nepalgunj, all other
district are backwad and remote in terms of media as well as
in education and development. Most of the journalist participants
from Bardia, Dailekh and Jajarkot had participated first time
in such a program which they found was inspiring. Their voice
justifies on the importance of such programs. This is the iron-heated
time when the Nepali media should embark on a journey that involves
work, which has to be done creatively, responsibly and cautiously
so that strengthening peace, as well as consolidating participatory
and inclusive democracy through drafting a new constitution
can be materialized. How can they deliver the message unless
they get inhaled on the issue? This program therefore was planned
and intended to make the journalists well informed on democracy,
CA, civic education and their roles and duties so that they
will be able to inform the people true information.
The journalists of this region do get far
less opportunity to learn from seniors and experts and also
to expose what they have learnt. NMDC in cooperation with FES
organized this program giving high priority for the participation
from the remotest districts as well as women. The program found
so impressive when 15 journalists-(girls)out of 49 actively
participated from all districts. This two-day program become
able to make journalists understand on democracy, CA, CA election
and voters rights including roles and duties of media, so that
they become able to report it fairly, honestly, impartially
and responsibly to readers, viewers and listeners. The program
was successful enough to think about analytical news rather
than the old political stories.
The overall objective of the training/seminar
a) To empower district journalists to strengthen
the national response in building democracy.
a) The specific objective of the training/
To enhance the capacity of understanding of journalists on democracy,
CA election, civic and voter's education and their professional
roles and responsibilities.
Focused area of the program
The two-day program was conducted as per the
content agreement with FES Nepal. The program focused on transferring
of skill, knowledge and expertise on democracy, constitution,
constituent assembly, civic and voter's education and the roles
and responsibilities of journalists. The major contents of the
- Role of Press in Democracy" and "Fears
for Nepali Press"
- Democracy, Constituent Assembly and International
practices and experiences
- Structure and procedure of CA, Sources
of information, Interim constitution and Electoral process
of CA, Federalism
- Level of understanding regarding CA and
role of media in promoting the level of awareness,
- What should be done to strengthen media
and journalists regarding CA?
- Development of Journalism and its changing
- Importance of Accountability of the Press,
- What makes the Press accountable?
- Role and responsibilities of free press
- CA, Election, Press Freedom and responsible
- Challenges of Nepali Media in the coming
CA election and how to cope with them?
- Group Work and presentation on 'Problems
and Challenges of Nepali Media in relation to the CA Election.'
- Strengths and weaknesses of local media,
Practices and trends of reporting in local media, particularly
FM radio, Origin of journalistic ethics and code of conduct,
- Securities measures on election reporting
As per the strategic plan of NMDC, this is
the third program organized in Surkhet in cooperation with FES
NMDC has planned to organize this type of
training in 14 zones. This is a program of Bheri zone in which
there are 5 districts namely- Banke, Bardia, Dailekh, Jajarkot
and Surkhet. Editors and reporters from these 5 districts were
invited in the program. While inviting participants special
attention was given to the districts such as Barida, Jarjarkot
and Dailekh. Even though Bardia lies in Terai, it is often neglected,
so we have invited one representative from each media from these
districts. An, only 4 journalists were invited from Banke. Similarly,
Jajrakot and Dailekh are the remotest mountain districts. It
took two-days to arrive at Surkhet from Jajarkot. There was
an encouraging participation from women journalists also from
these two districts. It is proved that as far and as we organize
programs in the remotest regions/districts there is large number
of participation with great learning intuition.
NMDC in consultation with FES adopted a clear,
inclusive policy while selecting the participants. For this
particular region, special attention was too given for the participation
of women and ethnic minorities. NMDC invited media trainers,
women journalists, and journalists from ethnic minorities and
marginalized and disadvantaged groups. Special attention was
given to women journalists working in FM radio stations.
The target members of this two-day training/seminar
program were the editors and reporters of print and electronic
media. NMDC in consultation with FES and FNJ Surkhet branch
had invited journalists/editors/reporters from each media outlets.
However, all journalists were invited from Surkhet as it being
the organizing district.
The major outputs of the two-day program are
1. Capacity of 49 editors and reporters of
5 districts of Bheri zone on CA , civic and voters education
2. Understanding of journalists on CA Election, voters and civic
3. Journalists sharpened their understanding on their roles
and responsibilities during CA election reporting;
4. News coverage increased.
On the basis of the developed criterion, NMDC
sent written invitation letters to the journalists of dailies,
weeklies, and FM radios stations and reporters of mainstream
media as well as foreign media including BBC-Nepali reporter.
The number of the participants from 5 districts
was 49 including 15 women and 11 from ethnic minorities. The
participant journalists were from print- daily, weekly, and
FM radio stations and TV reporters. The list of the participant
journalists is attached in Annex 'A'. Apart from Bheri zone
there were two participants from Kalikot. The details of the
participants on the basis of Media, Gender and Ethnicity and
Districts are given below.
a. Media Representation:
d. Participation on the basis of Districts:
Highlights of the Program
Before starting a formal training seminar
an informal inaugural program was also organized about an hour.
Mr. Moti Paudel, President of the FNJ Surkhet welcomed all the
participants of five different districts. He stressed on the
need of training to the journalists.
Mr. Kanchan Bharati, President, Revolutionary Journalists Association,
Ms. Illa Bhandari, Press Chautari, Mr. Dev Kumar Subedi, Press
Union, Krishna Bahadur Hamal, Layer and Krishna Bahadur Bashyal,
Vice -President FNJ Center highlighted on different political
issues, constituent assembly and media role. Resource person
and Journalists Mr. Vinaya Kumar Kasajoo highlighted on the
role of journalists to make the people aware on forth coming
In a closing session from the Chair, Mr. Bishnu
Prasad Sharma, President, National Media Development Center
(NMDC) highlighted on the need of responsible media for democracy.
He said without strong and independent media democracy could
not be institutionalized. Welcoming to all, he requested the
participants to participate actively and get benefit digging
out knowledge from experts on different aspects during the program.
Training /Seminar Session
This two-day training/seminar program was
divided into 7 different sessions. Mr. Motilal Paudel Chaired
the second session, in this session discussion was held on challenges
to the local journalists while reporting on CA election. In
third and fourth session discussion was held on media responsibilities,
role of media in democracy building and CA.
At the end of the first day, the participants
were divided into 6 different groups and assigned to present
next day on the given two issues. The issues were:
i) What are the threats and challenges while
reporting on CA and what are the recommendations?
ii) What are the challenges of local media in respective at
their resources, manpower and capacity building opportunities
and what could be the solutions?
In the second day's session, discussion was
held on different aspect of CA, need of CA in Nepali context
and role of journalists, media accountability, and basic rules
of election reporting. The leader of the 6 groups presented
their findings. The detail of the program and recommendations
The resource persons of the two-day program
were Mr. Dev Raj Dahal, Head FES, Kashi Raj Dahal, Constitutional
expert and Chief of Administrative court, Mr. Vinaya K. Kasajoo,
Media Trainer, senior journalists and writer and Bishnu Prasad
Sharma, President, NMDC coordinated the program.
Closing and Evaluation Session
In an informal closing session, 6 participants
independently expressed their experience of the two-day program.
Most of them have requested to organize this type of program
at district level; facilities from Department of Information
and Press Council should easily be made available in the remotest
districts. Participants from Dailekh and Jajarkot made special
request for basic journalism training as no one training yet
has been organized in these districts.
The financial support for this program was
supported by Foreign Ministry of Germany in coordination with
FES Nepal Office. The financial statement of the program has
already been submitted at the FES office, Sanepa.