Rethinking Public Welfare Advertisement in Nepal: From Media Welfare to Public Welfare
Author: Harsha Man Maharjan Publication Type: Policy Discussion Paper 

The Nepali government has been distributing welfare advertisements to the media since 1959. The main aim behind this practice was to provide economic support or media sustenance in the absence of alternative sources of revenue for media houses at that time. But the economic scenario of Nepali media has changed largely in comparison to the 1950s and the 1960s. Yet, a huge amount of public funds is still being spent in the name of welfare advertisement.

By analyzing policy documents related to welfare advertisements, and by comparing it to the nature of public welfare advertising in other countries, this paper shows that it is the media that is benefiting the most from the distribution of the advertisements as opposed to the public. It argues that instead of media sustenance, public welfare should be the main purpose of the distribution of welfare advertising. To ensure public welfare, it suggests ways to reform the current practice of distributing public welfare advertising and highlights the importance of public awareness messages reaching the right audience.