Training /Workshop on "Civic Education
Reporting for Mid-career Journalists"
Organized by National Media Development
16-17 March, Baitadi
National Media Development Center (NMDC), in coordination with
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Nepal -a German Foundation, organized
a training/workshop on "Civic Education Reporting for mid-career
journalists of Nepal" on 16-17 March, 2010 at Gothalapani,
Baitadi, Nepal. This was first of this type of training targeted
to the working journalists in Far West Nepal. The main objective
of the training is to enhance the capacity of peripheral journalists
on civic education reporting.
District journalists are entitled to report on all areas though
they lack resources and capacity development opportunities.
Therefore, theme focused programs such as Civic Education reporting
provides multifold benefit to local journalists and put greater
significance at local level. Such programs put direct impact
to the participants and citizen. This FES Nepal supported program
has encouraged mid -career journalists of Far West Nepal in
civic journalism. Together with journalists, this program provided
awareness to local citizen of Baitadi about democracy and the
rule of law. Such high level programs are rarely organized in
such a remote district. They learned the importance of civic
education and the role of media to educate local citizen by
providing authentic and verified information.
There were 25 mid-career journalists working both in print
and electronic. They were from Darchula, Baitadi and Kanchanpur
districts. The presentation sessions, reference materials, class
exercises and news reporting techniques were beneficial for
them. According to them, this training/workshop opened their
eyes and they will change on the modality of traditional event
based political reporting.
Swikriti Parajuli, judge of Baitadi district inaugurated the
program. FES Chief Dev Raj Dahal, Administrative Court Chief,
Kashi Raj Dahal, Chief District Officer Keshab Raj Ghimire,
NMDC President Bishnu Prasad Sharma highlighted on the objective
and theme of the two-day program. President of FNJ Baitadi branch
Narendra Bhatta chaired the session.
The two day program was organized in different sessions such
as- Inaugural, Presentation, Class Exercise, News reporting,
Evaluation and Closing.
President of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Baitadi
Branch Narendra Bhatta chaired the Session. District Judge Swikriti
Parajuli was invited as chief guest of the program. Chief District
Officer of Baitadi District Mr. Kesheb Raj Ghimire, Local Development
Officer, Chief of the Nepal Army and Armed Police Force at Baitadi,
teachers and professors of the local college were present as
guest at the inaugural session. Head of FES Nepal, Dev Raj Dahal,
Chairperson of Administrative Court, Kashiraj Dahal, NMDC President
Bishnu P. Sharma, Media trainer Shree Ram Khanal were invited
to the podium. There were 25 participant journalists representing
from Kanchanpur, Darchula and Baitadi districts.
President of NMDC Bishnu Prasad Sharma introduced the objective
of the program. "This two day program is more theoretical
than practical. However, it will also focus on civic education
reporting techniques, he said." "Media people inform
the citizens responsibly without involving in government mechanism.
The duty of the journalist is to find out the truth and inform
the citizen by providing verified information", he said.
"Journalists should be impartial in informing the citizen.
They should report impartially about the strength and weakness
of the government. This two day training/workshop will highlight
on the principles of democracy, role of media, and how journalists
should report on civic education", he said. This program
focused on civic education reporting will certainly be beneficial
to working journalists of Far west Nepal, he concluded.
Chief Guest of the program, District Judge Swikriti Parajuli
inaugurated the program.
Head of FES Nepal, Dev Raj Dahal addressed on the key objectives
of the two-day training/workshop to provincial journalists.
Introducing FES, he said it is working in 125 countries in the
Mr. Dahal said, "In the context of Nepal, FES is supporting
to strengthen relations between state and society through interaction,
dialogue and publications." "The society is enriched
with knowledge, it is essential to analysis and conduct research",
he said. " We need to establish rights based approach,
people should be sovereign, there should be political stability
and democratic constitution should be drafted. These issues
needed to be raised by the local media. They should cover local
issues" he said. "Media should report on religion,
language, drinking water, food shortage responsibly that makes
the citizens informed" highlighting the role of journalists,
he said. Focusing on the media importance Dahal said, "Its
role is to provide knowledge that supports on citizen's solidarity.
Media is a watchdog. As we are in transitional phase, media
should view the 'world' through 'word' so they should be careful
in selecting the 'word' it can direct towards solutions, minimize
conflict and support the citizen." "The Nepali media
should attempt to make principles and theories interesting to
increase the reading habits of Nepali leaders", he concluded.
Addressing at the session Chairperson of Administrative Court,
Kashiraj Dahal said, "now we are in constitution drafting
process. Journalists should not only campaign on constitution
making process but they should also study the content and they
should be analyzed". He stressed on the point of nationality
while talking about federalism. Media should always report on
national unity and nation building, he said. "To make people
responsible on their duties is civic education. Media plays
important role in informing the citizens about their rights
and duties", he concluded.
Chief District Officer Keshab Raj Ghimire, Local Development
Officer Yadu Prasad Panthi also addressed the session. Both
of them asked the journalists to write for the protection and
promotion of language, culture, art and history of the country.
Media should be authentic they stressed.
Addressing the Inaugural Session, District Judge Swikriti Parajuli
said that civic education is associated with every aspects of
Narendra Bhatta Chairperson of the session and President of
FNJ Baitadi branch thanked FES Nepal and NMDC for organizing
the program at Baitadi district. He also said that it was first
program at Baitadi targeted exclusively for journalists. He
also briefly informed the audience about the problems such as
communications, electricity, and transportation that local journalists
facing in the district.
Presentation and Discussion Session
The tow-day program was divided into paper presentation session,
local problem identification session, news reporting exercise
session and discussion.
Day 1 ( 16 March 2010)
Program Coordinator and media trainer jointly started the session
with introduction and expectation collection. After expectation
collection, discussion was held on the topic of " Challenges
of Rural Journalists in Nepal: Local Experience and National
situation. Media Expert Bishnu P Sharma, and Media Trainer Shree
Ram Khanal jointly moderated the session.
All participant journalists from Darchula, Kanchanpur and Baitadi
actively participated at the session. They briefly mentioned
problems and difficulties of provincial reporters. The problems
were different as per the geographical location. Reporters working
at Kanchanpur do not feel the same problems as faced by a local
reporter based in Darchula. However, the nature of the problems
is similar. The major challenges of district journalists working
at Far West Nepal as they face are as following:
1. Inaccessibility of transportation and communication;
2. Lack of resources and modern communication tools such as
computer, fax and internet. (Stll journalists of Darchula have
to go to Dharchula (India) to send a Fax.)
3. Killings and threatens;
4. Unavailability of capacity building/training opportunities;
5. Information hiding culture at local government offices, corporations
6. Lack of study and coordination among the working journalists;
7. Less number of readers;
8. Lack of coordination among the journalists between center
9. Opportunities centralized at the center
Concluding the session both resource persons highlighted on
the needs of coordination among the journalists during reporting.
Another tool to enhance the capacity is the habit of self study
that promotes reporting knowledge and quality.
The second session was presentation session. Kashi Raj Dahal
presented a paper on " Principles of Democracy, Nepali
Democracy, Challenges and Role of Media in safeguarding Democracy".
Before presentation the participants were divided into two groups
and they were assigned to present their views on the given two
topics. The topics were:
Journalists were then asked to add required points on the given
topics. The major points they suggested were as follows:
Topic: What are the principles of democracy and how they should
reflect in constitution?
1. Freedom of press and people's rights to expression;
2. Guarantee of human rights;
3. Meaningful participation of disadvantaged group;
4. Rule of law;
5. End of impunity;
6. Periodic election;
7. Selection of head of state through direct election;
8. Independent judiciary;
9. Impartial distribution of resources
10. Independent Commissions
Topic: What is the Role of media to institutionalize democracy
and educate citizens?
1. Make aware citizens on their rights;
2. Educate people on democracy;
3. Inform the citizens about their rights and duties;
4. Practice citizen journalism rather than individual;
5. Lead on the discussion on the common agendas of the constitution;
6. Give attention on the benefit of nation and people;
7. Provide verified information;
8. End of partial journalism;
9. Develop professional and credible journalism, and
10. Respect journalist's code of ethics.
He explained on the given and other important aspects of the
democracy, federalism and role of media. At the end of presentation,
Dahal said, " professional and impartial media support
in building democracy and establishing peace in the country."
He gave many thought provoking examples that were linked with
nationalism, national unity, citizen's duty and role of media.
Mr. Dahal's paper is attached in the annex.
The third session was a practical session. In this session,
media trainers explained about the media reporting trends on
civic education. He gave many local and national examples that
were published in local and national papers. Nepali media both
electronic and print are dominated by leader and event based
political reporting. Even in Kathmandu, reports on citizen's
issues such as drinking water, sanitation, price of most important
items e.g. vegetable, sugar, gasoline are given less priority
than the speech of political leaders. It was discussed that
district media also follow the same trends.
After discussion, participants agreed on the importance of
giving priority on local issues that are directly connected
with daily life of the citizens. What's the meaning of a banner
news about the speech of a leader in local newspaper published
from Darchula where people are queuing for hours for one kilogram
of salt ? Local media should cover pain and gain of local people.
It was also discussed about the impact of the news. Journalists
raised several time about the scarcity of drinking water in
Baitadi, but the authority did not pay any attention. In such
a case, it was suggested that the journalists should continue
in reporting through different perspectives. While giving news
they should write on different angles. There should be investigative
reporting on source of water, technical part, financial sources,
corruption, implementation etc, and then the authority will
be compelled to listen the voice of the people.
At the end of the first days session, participant journalists
were divided into five different groups and they were asked
to select a topic on civic education to write news that they
had to present the following day. First day was concluded providing
assignment to the participants.
Day-2 (17 March 2010)
The session started with assignment presentation. Each group
presented news reports they were assigned for. Field visit was
not possible due to time shortage however, each group had an
effective presentation. Media trainer provided necessary feed
back on each presentation. It was concluded that they still
had to exercise to improve on news angling, lead selection,
and language and news presentation style. Feed back helped them
to identify their weakness and opportunity to improve in future
Chandra Dev Bhatta, Program Officer of FES Nepal presented a
paper on "Civic Education: Principles and Theories and
Role of Media". He started his presentation by providing
glimpse of Nepali media, media industry, opportunity, economic
relations and its impact on professionalism.
Explaining about civic education he said, "civic education
seeks to introduce citizens to the basic concepts of democracy,
and provide them knowledge about democratic rights and practices."
He further said," civic journalism recognizes the fact
that the journalist is a citizen first and a media professional
"Media should be open to all people regardless of their
standing or position in the society, he said. Mass media is
now becoming an integral part of the society as family, religion
and schools are becoming weak, he mentioned.
Many journalists actively participated in the discussion and
expressed that the presentation benefited them to identify different
reporting angles on civic education. Mr. Bhatta presented in
local language so that it became more interesting to the local
journalists. The paper is attached in annex.
Shree Ram Khanal media trainer lead the session on "Reporting
Techinque on Civic Education". The session focused on class
work and news writing on civic education. He focused on citizen
journalism that makes journalists responsible on several aspects
of the citizens. This civic journalism concept prioritize journalism
not only as 'watchdog' but a ' guide dog' means journalists
should also guide the citizens. He explained about the argument
that journalist should report stories and issues from the perspectives
of ordinary citizens rather than articulating the view points
of senior political figures or local elites.
During practical session he explained about 5WH as basic questions
that a reporter should be aware. He also explained about the
three methods such as visit, interview and investigation that
are essential for news collection. He also informed on the role
and effect of media in the society. The key note of the presentation
is given annex.
After presentation, the journalists were asked to figure out
news headings on civic reporting. They were assigned to write
headlines and a paragraph of news on the selected topic. After
class exercise, participant journalists presented the headline
and a paragraph of the news they prepared. Trainer provided
necessary feed back on their class work presentation. This session
provided elaboration on news writing styles and techniques on
Training evaluation forms containing 16 questionnaires were
distributed to the participants to collect their views about
the training/workshop. Most of them have expressed that this
training was fruitful. They gained knowledge on the principles
of democracy, civic education, civic journalism, role of media
and reporting techniques. They have suggested that the workshop
period was too short where they had no time for field reporting
which is an effective method.
A brief closing session was organized at the end of the session.
Participants also spoke on the effectiveness of the workshop/training.
According to them this short workshop helped them to identify
civic angles while writing news; they gained knowledge on different
aspects of civic education, democracy, roles and duties of journalists.
According to them, this program became successful to open their
mind to report on different aspects of citizens. They also learned
major reporting techniques and principles of democracy and civic
education and role of media. And, the reference materials were
useful for them.
Addressing the session FNJ President thanked the FES and NMDC
for giving an opportunity to coordinate and organizing the program
at Baitadi. He expressed his hope that FES and NMDC will continue
their support in enhancing the capacity of the provincial journalists.
NMDC President expressed his commitment to continue such rural
based programs in the remotest districts in Nepal. Thanking
FES Nepal for their support to enhance the capacity of provincial
journalists on civic education, he requested them to increase
their support in the coming days for similar other remote areas
of Nepal where it is really needed.
Program with the participation and presentation of national
figures and experts on national issues in remote region targeting
local media reporters is a historical event. This type of programs
are rarely organized. Such program not only provides an opportunity
to learn and experience the feelings of local people to the
organizers but also provides chances to local citizens to learn
many things from the experts. NMDC prioritize to bring such
programs at the remotest districts that leave visible and measurable
impact. FES Nepal's support has further encouraged NMDC.
The first program organized at Baitadi became successful and
fruitful to the journalists of Mahakali zone. The commitment
of the journalists to write on civic journalism is another success
indicator of the program.
Presented by: Bishnu Prasad Sharma, NMDC