The MEDIA Initiative’s objectives are to:
1) Improve the professionalism and standards of Nepalese media workers
2) Improve media coverage that is accurate, timely and transparent and
3) Improve the security of media workers and societal and governmental respect for the vital role media freedom has to play in Nepal’s democracy.
By combining these innovative interventions the MEDIA Initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of independent media to resist threats, to earn public and government respect by acting in the public interest and reinforce the media’s role as a strong foundation for Nepal’s emerging democracy.
The objectives of the stakeholder meeting were to promulgate the MEDIA Initiative project and its importance and to gather inputs on project activities implemented by Equal Access in Nepal, in collaboration with its partners WATCH for Social Justice and FREEDEAL.
Mr. Deependra Joshi, Country Director of Equal Access Nepal presented on the highlights of the MEDIA Initiative, followed by a short introduction and welcome from Mrs. Gemma Ferguson, Equal Access International Program Manager. The importance of the Initiative was also stressed by Mr. Israel Moya, Human Rights/TIP Analyst from the Embassy of the United States of America. Mr. Moya expressed excitement at the proposed project activities and said he found the project goals to be highly commendable. Mr. Moya stated “we hope that the impact of the project goes beyond the project deadline in empowering journalists and the society to make a difference over the long term, not just next two years.”
To open the interactive session, Mr. Rama Krishna Regmi, Senior Journalist and University Teacher & Resource Person presented a definitive key-note speech on the current media situation in Nepal and called on the media industry to minimize harm and to work together to create a secure, transparent and responsive media environment in the current transitional period. The presentation was well received by the participants and initiated a highly interactive dialogue between participants, Mr. Regmi and the designated representatives of EAN and its partner organizations.
Finally, the project partners FREEDEAL and WATCH presented an “Introduction to the LEGAL Defense Fund & SMS Service and Modality” by Mr. Satish Krishna Kharel (FREEDEAL) and a “Sharing of the Media Monitoring activity” by Shiva Gaule (WATCH). Pawan Prakash Upreti (Technical Consultant) also presented on the new media and web based elements of the project, before the floor was opened for questions and comments.
The participants at the meeting included media owners, activists, human rights and legal experts, media teachers and trainers, and media and content analysts from the Government and Non Governmental sectors. Binaya Guragain-Program Coordinator for EAN represented the project and fielded questions on behalf of Equal Access and Upendra Aryal (Strategic Partnerships Director) facilitated the day’s events.
Production and dissemination of a TV documentary, 24 radio episodes and 24 print investigative pieces addressing threats to and the role of independent media in Nepal, development and launch of two original online and mobile phone based platforms, Media Monitoring and analysis to expose corruption, undue influence or unprofessionalism within the media and establishment of a Media Defenders legal support referral mechanism (including via SMS) and legal support fund provision of training on media law and rights and working in conflict areas to more than 2,000 media workers are key activities planned under the MEDIA Initiative.