NGO Federation of Nepal (NFN) called upon a dialogue meeting with media and CSOs' network organizations on February 04 2018 at NFN office premise. The meeting was organized as an open discussion forum with media person and CSO leader discussing how CSOs and media have always been the complementary block of actor for sustainable democracy, development, and governance, both need to have ongoing critical as well as a constructive functional relationship. The meeting with media is to strategically reinforce the agenda of CSOs space, roles and enabling environment.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Jit Ram Lama, President of NFN. Mr. Rem BK, General Secretary, Federation of Nepali Journalist (FNJ) attended the meeting as a chief guest. There were altogether 42 participants where male were 30 and female were 12 representing from different media houses such as Radio Nepal, Naya Patrika, Nepal Television as well as representatives different CSOs, networks, coalitions, alliances, federations, Freelancer and NFN staff.
(NFN) has recognized that the time has come to take leading initiatives for widening and maintaining an independent, safe and enabling civil society space through close coordination, cooperation and advocacy actions with the government. The NFN has been also working hard to maintain public trust and credibility through strengthening the performance by making open and transparent, engaging and responsive, and continually learning and being accountable to the public. NFN always strive towards building CSOs to make them able to analyze the situation of enabling environment and able to take advocacy actions to protect their freedom, independence, and safer space.
Rim Biswakarma, General Secretary, FNJ, stated that the media has been playing an important role in enhancing transparency and good governance in developing countries by contributing to increased public debate on issues surrounding the formulation and implementation of government budgets as well as in supporting greater transparency of public revenue. The civil society groups may establish ties with political parties and the state, but they must retain their independence, and not seek political power for themselves.
Participants during the meeting have shared that Civil society and the media can together play an important role in building a culture of integrity in our country and its society. While civil society has a key role in bridging the government bodies and the people at the grass-roots level, the role of the media is like a watchdog by exposing the corruption in society and providing accurate, balanced and timely information that is relevant to the public interest. A democratic state cannot maintain stability unless it is effective and legitimate, and has the respect and support of its citizens. For this purpose, transparency is the key factor, which can be ensured by an effective role of the media. Further, they highlighted that many key challenges have emerged in the surveillance and advocacy work of both civil society and media.
Existing laws and legal frameworks of Nepal tend to restrict CSOs in many ways. Media and CSO coalitions are needed to create a double self-regulatory mechanism as agreed by the CSOs and policymakers to ensure full representation of women and the marginalized population. This is important to create an environment of confidence among all – CSOs, policymakers and the public. CSO movements in Nepal have been successful in defeating several rules and regulations restricting CSO activities. Through these efforts of CSOs, the governments can become more accountable, honest, accountable, transparent and responsive to the public demands, which will win the support of the people and strengthen their legitimacy.
In this context, the government has to come up with an adequate number of promotional programmes to address the issue. Safeguarding press freedom and enforcing deregulation could promote a positive attitude in the public. For this, dialogue, cooperation, and trust between the government, civil society, and the media are necessary.