While Nepal’s media is generally considered to be free and robust, the media sector still suffers from numerous problems, including over-concentration of the media in the Capital, little investigative reporting, poorly trained journalists, self-censorship and a weak news market that results in poorly funded media. Local Nepali media, with the exception of local FM radio stations, are underdeveloped in Nepal. Even the relatively high standard of local FM radio stations in Nepal is largely due to support from several Kathmandu-based community radio satellite networks and content providers.
The major strategic area within media is to prepare Nepal’s media to meet the emerging public information needs that will lead to a democratic, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Nepal.
In a transitional situation, creating the pressure to guarantee total freedom of the press is essential. Other important issues include the professional capacity of journalists, content of the media, a code of conduct for journalists, and social inclusion into the journalistic profession. ASD supports local organizations to implement their programs, facilitate dialogue, conduct research and provide advanced media trainings.
ASD works in close cooperation with the Network Media Program in London. A joint strategy planning session was held in Kathmandu in March 2010, with detailed discussions with all major stakeholders. Outcomes of this session inform ASD and OSF strategy for 2011 – 2012. See Strategy outline for collaboration with Open Society Network Programs for detail.
Nepal’s media emerged as professional and accountable constituents of a peaceful democratic society.
Support the development of a free, professional media that is representative, responsive and accountable
- Carry out dialogues among media stakeholders, particularly radio.
Stakeholders: Journalists/ editors, media associations and radio associations/groups.
- Identify policy gaps and recommend change
Stakeholders: Researchers, education and training institutions, regulatory bodies and industry associations.
- Support capacity building of media persons
Stakeholders: Journalists/ editors, particularly members from underrepresented social groups
Major strategic areas for upcoming years
- Freedom of expression
- Professionalism of Media persons
- Code of Conduct
- Content of Media
Tools and Strategies:
Convening consultations, research, publications, trainings, exposure visits, campaigns for freedom of expression, media freedom and protection of journalists.
Strategy outline for collaboration with Open Society Network Programs Working on Media are:
1. Network Media Program (NMP)
In March 2010, ASD organized a Strategy Planning Session (SPS) for media development in Kathmandu which brought together ASD, NMP and numerous Nepali media practitioners and experts. The session helped to focus OSF’s work on media in Nepal by identifying the following focus areas:
- Training: Despite the proliferation of journalist training programs in Nepal, essential training still needs support, such as the basic journalism courses for marginalized groups.
- Security of journalists: In the prevalent culture of impunity in Nepal, journalists are increasingly victims of violence propagated by various state and non-state actors. Monitoring this violence and developing campaigns against impunity will be important focal points for OSF’s continued work on media in Nepal.
- Radio: Radio remains the most important news medium in Nepal with almost total reach across the country. Development of Nepal’s successful community radio network has been supported heavily by both NBI and NMP. However, community radio may now be a victim of its own success. A survey needs to be conducted to assess the existing imbalances, especially between centralized and local content in radio broadcast.
- Print: The Print media in Nepal has limited reach, yet remains very influential in agenda setting and elite discourse. Print media’s post-1990 development was a huge media success story, but print’s media star has faded in the last few years amidst an increasing atmosphere of violence, intolerance and intimidation directed towards the media. Self-censorship has become pervasive and investigative journalism is rarely practiced for financial and political reasons.