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Media’s constant follow up whets agenda, ensures change: Experts

(Narayan Prasad Ghimire)

Kathmandu, July 7: Experts on media and gender safety have spoken the need of constant advocacy for any agenda by the media and civil society organizations to ensure sustainable change in the society.

Facilitating a three-day workshop on media development in Nepal organized to assess the needs from July 4 to 6 in Lalitpur, the international experts said capacity strengthening was significant to bolster the activities of media and civil society organizations to meet the objective.

Head of the team of Innovation and Safety at Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Ruth de Vries, said, “Safety of journalists must be protected to guarantee free flow of information.

However, conflict, corruption and impunity are hostile to media freedom. Unless media is free and independent, it can’t contribute to sustainable change.”

According to her, change is a dynamic and complex process inviting multi-stakeholders’ concern and efforts; and media is a catalyst of change.

The essence of advocacy is all about change, and change is on agendas, knowledge, attitude, behavior, relationships, policies and practices, she added.

FPU is a Netherland-based international organization working in the sector of freedom of expression for long.

Similarly, Programme Manager for the South and South East Asia at FPU, Dessi Damianova, said, “Gender policy is a must for any media house and civil society organization, as these are the contributors to the sustainable change,”. She expressed displeasure on the low level of women’s participation in Nepali media.

Project Officer on Gender, Innovation and Safety team for South East Asia at FPU, Annelies Langelaar, opined that strengthening of the media practitioners helps in ensuring media advocacy.

During the workshop, the experts provided orientation to the participants on whetting skills on purposeful advocacy, lobby skills, capacity strengthening, gender balance and safety, media monitoring, awareness of good digital hygiene, awareness of social engineering, essence of advocacy, and capacity building and accountability.

Media persons and civil society organizations working on freedom of expression in Nepal had participated in the workshop.

The experts also shared their international experiences how fragile advocacy and lack of accountability and transparency lead to the failure in achieving sustainable change.

During the programme, non-government organization working in the sector of freedom of expression as Freedom Forum and Nepal Forum EFEJ and other journalists shared their experiences in lobby and advocacy which resulted in success as introduction of Right to Information Act and granting licenses for the Sagarmatha FM.

The workshop was jointly organized by Free Press Unlimited (FPU) and Nepal Forum of Environment Journalist (NEFEJ).

Source: National News Agency (RSS)