Promoting safe, professional, independent and accountable media to promote human rights, democracy and peace in Nepal
Nepal’s print, digital and broadcast media is vital in building a peaceful, democratic, and inclusive society and country.
The media is an important institution in the peacebuilding process because it not only makes the government more accountable and transparent, it also creates a platform and opens channels for dialogue between citizen and state. However, its capacity to play this role is severely undermined by politicisation, journalist intimidation and elite dominance of the industry. Nepal ranks 112th out of 180 countries in Reporters Sans Frontiere’s 2020 World Press Freedom index, a number which hints at deep issues affecting the media’s ability to serve the public as a vehicle to both inform and facilitate difficult yet important conversations that will shape the norms and institutions as well as the important social and cultural conversations that require sensitive engagement and dialogue.
Acknowledging these challenges, International Alert, Institute of Human Rights Communication Nepal (IHRICON) and the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) have come together to jointly develop a project to promote safe, professional, independent and accountable media for a peaceful democratic Nepal. For almost a decade International Alert and FNJ have created a strong partnership dedicated to creating inclusive, professional and accountable journalism in Nepal. Together we have developed industry leading practices and tools on the themes that this current project will address.
The objectives of the project include:
- Increased professionalism and capacity of journalists and the media to strengthen state accountability.
- Enhanced understanding and capacity amongst journalists, women/human rights defenders (W/HRDs), policymakers and the public of the links between human rights violations and controls on press freedom including self-censorship, and how these controls undermine inclusive and meaningful democracy.
- Improved cooperation and collaboration between media, HRDs and stakeholders to reduce media rights violations and for promoting press freedom and human rights.
- Increased willingness and capacity of policymakers to strengthen and reform policies in support of freedom of press and freedom of expression.
This project will develop standards and advanced curriculums to enhanced Nepali journalist's professionalism. Journalists, particularly female journalists, from around the country will be trained on basic concepts of journalism, gender equality and social inclusion, journalists code of conduct, and conflict sensitive media using innovative mentor-based training methods. 11 free media networks will be formed to protect journalists and media rights, ensure freedom of expression and allow them to work with FNJ to make the media more professional and accountable. The network will develop a coordination mechanism among human right defenders, journalists and other stakeholders to ensure this is freedom of expression, democracy and human rights for all.
The project will conduct dialogues, advocacy, awareness campaigns and trainings among representatives, policy makers, bureaucracy, HRDs and civil society in all three tiers of governments (federal, provincial and local) to improve journalist’s professionalism and ensure media rights and freedom of expressions.
It started in January 2020 and will end in December 2022.
Watch this video to find out more about our work in Nepal to help build journalists' skills, safety and capacity, as well as promote inclusion and equality. With thanks to the European Union in Nepal for their support and Institute of Human Rights Communication Nepal and the Federation of Nepali Journalists for their partnership on this work.