Freedom Forum organized an orientation program on “Monitoring of Freedom of Expression Issues” for seven media persons selected from each Province across the country.
In the program organized in Kathmandu on May 21, Freedom Forum Executive Chief, Taranath Dahal, made an intense presentation of FoE, its concept, philosophies and principles. He focused on the FoE principle which has its base on seeking, receiving and imparting information. Also, he mentioned that protection of FoE was needed for human dignity, democratic participation, discovering truth and promoting tolerance. He basically emphasized on state’s role on protection of FoE as well as on maintaining favorable environment to lessen the anti press incidents.
Also Media Monitoring Officer Narayan Ghimire discussed how each selected media persons from different province could coordinate with Freedom Forum and bring the stories of FoE violations in an evidence-based and comprehensive manner. He provided tips to the stringers on identifying FoE issues.
Participants had questions regarding how they would identify the cases of FoE violation and differentiate them from other cases of intimidations. Facilitators made them clearer about the issue.
The orientation organized under the the SEFAS (Support to Enabled Environment for Free, Accountable, and Sustainable Media in Nepal)-No News Is Bad News project was attended by Bikram Niraula (Biratnagar, Province No-1), Ajay Shah (Janakpur, Province No 2), Ashok Dahal (Kathmandu, Province No 3), Rajan Upadhyay (Tanahu, Province No 4), Sudeep Gautam (Dang, Province No 5), Laxmi Gautam (Surkhet, Province No 6), and DR Pant (Dhangadhi, Province No 7).
In the orientation, Mr DR Pant, Mr Bikram Niraula, and Mr Sudeep Gautam shared their plight in a sense that they, as the senior journalists, faced such moment that made them difficult to differentiate the case of general violence and FoE violation.
MR Pant said, “As they were mostly working for the media sector, it was natural for them to focus only on the media. In my own case, I did not observe other issues of freedom of expression. FoE is really broader than the media freedom. Now this orientation has made me more than a journalist- an activist as well.
Similarly, Ms Laxmi Bhandari seconded Mr Panta saying, “I too was thinking of focusing on press freedom violation. Now, I observe closely on other issues of FoE in addition to the press freedom.”
During the orientation, the stringers were asked to be studious on the legal provisions and policies relating to FoE, so that their knowledge would be broader. Also, they were made aware on how political, socio-economic and legal environment would affect the entire FoE atmosphere.
Media Monitoring Officer Mr Ghimire reiterated, “Although the job is not regular, the stringers need to be very prompt in case of FoE violation. Constant watch on entire FoE landscape is must.”