130 fellows to contribute to credible reporting

24 May 2013

image Mr. Rohan Edrisinha, International Project Manager of UNDP’s SPCBN project, handing over fellowships. Photo Credit: UNDP Nepal

Kathmandu -- 130 working Nepali journalists from across the country have been awarded reporting fellowships as a part of joint effort of UNDP and Government of Japan to support factual reporting and improvement of basic news gathering skills.

The fellowships were awarded as part of support to Nepali journalists to improve reporting and news gathering skills on contentious issues in Nepal’s proposed new constitution.

The fellowships carry a cash award of USD 100 and a certificate.

Prior to awarding the fellowships, in 2011 the Nepal Media Support Project run by UNDP’s Support to Participatory Constitution Building in Nepal (SPCBN) project with financial support of the Government of Japan and technical assistance of UNESCO had conducted a nationwide survey among 838 journalists and 2,252 members of the public to reach an informed conclusion on the state of reporting and types of support journalists would need. Most respondents flagged the need for basic news gathering and reporting skills.

Following the survey a reporting manual was prepared to conduct training workshop. Several two-day residential workshops were organized for 400 journalists of 52 districts in different locations across the country in the last two months.

The fellowships are meant to provide encouragement to practice the tools the journalists have learnt during workshops. But the fellowship has been provided to other journalists as well

Among the total 130 fellows, 32 percent are female and 68 percent are male. This included 18 percent Janajatis, 18 percent Madhesis and 11percent Dalits, among others

Awardees were selected on three different categories. Under the first category, a total of 107 from among the 400 trainee journalists were selected for the fellowship by a jury comprising of the trainers based on their active participation, interest towards the subject, experience, knowledge, age group and media representation among others.

In the second category of inclusion, 18 journalists selected and recommended by the Association of Nepalese Indigenous Journalists, Jagaran Media Centre, Madhesi Journalists' Society and Sancharika Samuha. And remaining 5 journalists were selected from mediamanch.net, a social network of Nepali journalists.

The final installment of the fellowships was awarded to 31 journalists from seven different districts during a programme held in the Kathmandu on Monday.

Speaking at the fellowship distribution programme, Mr. Hishashi Hoshino, First Secretary at Embassy of Japan called on the journalists to play an important role in promoting peace and democracy. “They should also play a part in the upcoming CA elections by informing the general public with correct information," he said.

Mr. Rohan Edrisinha, International Project Manager of UNDP’s SPCBN project said that competent journalists can help enforce fair and balanced debate in the constitution making process. He also said that media community should get together to maintain their independence.

Dhurba Hari Adhikary, senior journalist highlighted the need of credible reporting and of providing correct information respecting people's right to right information.

Unlike the many other trainings I have received, the training given by UNDP was very practical and it actually helped in our day-to-day work, said Sher Bahadur Bhujel, a radio journalist from Kalinchok FM, speaking on behalf of the fellows.