Enabling Conducive Atmosphere for Free, Safe and Inclusive Media (ECAFSIM) in Nepal

   

Donor(s)

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Strategic Partnership)

Partner(s)

Freedom Forum (FF)

Overall objective

To contribute to an enabling conducive atmosphere for free, safe and inclusive media (ECAFSIM) in Nepal.

Achieved results

  • The November 2nd programme organized by Freedom Forum (FF) served as a platform for the families of murdered and disappeared journalists to share their personal stories. One account was that of Dhan Bahadur Rokaya, daughter of disappeared journalist Pabitra Rokaya. Following the event, her family’s case was covered by the mainstream media as a main headline. This is a significant outcome, given that no media coverage had been given to this case previously.
  • Freedom Forum made a significant contribution to a safer environment for media professionals through its Legal Helpdesk. Freedom Forum provided legal aid to journalists who were being threatened or had to fight legal cases against state agencies. Two journalists were released on bail and one case was handed over accordingly from the police to the Press Council following a letter from Freedom Forum.

  • The Right To Information app proved to be a useful tool for informed citizenry, after a number of students contacted Freedom Forum asking how they could use the app to request a recount of their grade 10 exam results.

  • As an indirect result of Freedom Forums consistent monitoring on gender in media content, its interface meetings, and “feedback visits”, an increase in the number of female by-lines and sources in newspapers and online media, as well as a changed perception among media houses and editors regarding women’s presence in the newsroom has been observed. To give an example, editors from Nayapatrika, Republica, and The Rising Nepal have stated that they now assign reporters to search for at least 1 female news source. To list another example, following an interface meeting in which one female journalist said it was difficult to report on mainstream issues due to the insecurity of working late at night, Republica newspaper started a pick-and-drop service for its female journalists. FF’s efforts have clearly contributed to enabling an inclusive atmosphere for female reporters and editors.

  • Freedom Forum joint hands in fostering a nation-wide alliance with other media-related organizations such as Press Council Nepal, Media Advocacy Group, Janata Television, Federation of Nepali Journalists to advocate for a review of the Mass Communication Bill. This joint initiative allowed more pressure to be exerted on the government.

  • Through lobby and recommendations made by Freedom Forum, the recent amended provision that defined satire and other sarcastic caricatures (306 – 2 c) as defamation has been removed. A new provision 306 (3) (h) has been added stating that an“act done or any broadcast and publication made with the good intention that favors public interest, protection of virtue and morality does not amounts to the defamation.’