The UNESCO Kathmandu Office and the Center for Media Freedom (CMF) jointly organised five different orientation sessions for media students in five reputable colleges/universities to coincide with World Press Freedom Day (WPFD)-2015. The orientation sessions were organised in the presence of media experts, academicians, senior journalists and media students on ‘Independent Journalism, Gender Equality and Media Safety in Digital Age’, the global theme of WPFD-2015. The orientation sessions were conducted at National Integrated College, Madan Bhandari College, Kantipur City College, Kathmandu University and Dillibazar Kanya Multiple College.
More than 200 media students benefited from the orientation sessions. The purposes of orientation sessions were to inform students about significance of the WPFD, its global theme and providing them an ample opportunity to interact with media experts on recent media trends and issues. The orientation sessions saw an encouraging as well as inclusive participation of students.
The first orientation programme was conducted at National Integrated College Dillibazar on April 22, 2015. The orientation was attended by CMF General Secretary Mr. Bimal Gautam, CMF Treasurer Ms. Sharada Rijal, Mr. JB Bisokarma of UNESCO Kathmandu Office, College Principal Mr. Indra Bahadur Malla and Programme Director of College Mr. Prakash Regmi. A total of 45 students attended the orientation program of which 22 were female students.
On April 24, 2015 the second orientation session was organised at Kathmandu University, Hattiban, Lalitpur. CMF Chairperson and senior journalist Mr. Dhurba Hari Adhikari, Mr. JB Bisokarma from UNESCO office Kathmandu, CMF Treasurer Mr. Sharada Rijal were the key speakers in the orientation session. Coordinator of Media Studies Department of Kathmandu University Dr. Nirmala Mani Adhikari and other faculty members were present in the orientation. Altogether 55 students, including 20 female students, and university teachers attended the programme.
Mr. Dhurba Hari Adhikari spoke about various aspects of independent journalism along with gender equality and media safety in digital age. He said that politics, economy and other social factors influence media and journalists. He further said, “Media should operate in an independent way if they are to serve the public interest.”
On June 12, 2015 the third orientation session was organised at Dillibazar Kanya Multiple Campus. Mr. Bimal Gautam, Ms. Sharada Rijal, College Principal Ms. Aparajita Aryal, Senior Correspondent of Kantipur Daily and Lecturer at college Ms. Durga Khanal and Journalist-Lecturer Mr. Lila Raj Khanal attended the session.
Mr. Gautam informed students about problems in maintaining independence of journalism and difficulties faced by Nepali journalists. He illustrated the status of Nepali journalism by providing some lucid examples of political, economic and other types of influences faced by Nepali journalists. He, however, urged media students not to be pessimistic and join the media sector despite all odds. “Despite some pressures and challenges we should make efforts to maintain independence in newsrooms,” Mr. Gautam said.
On June 15, 2015 fourth orientation session was organised for media students at Kantipur City College. Senior journalists Mr. Narayan Wagle and Ms. Manju Thapa were key speakers of the programme. At the beginning of the program, Lecturer Mr. Ekraj Pathak delivered a welcome speech briefly highlighting the status of Nepali media and challenges it faced.
The final orientation session was organised in Madan Bhandari College on June 22, 2015. At the beginning of program, Mr. Ghamaraj Luitel, Head of Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of College delivered the welcome speech to guests, students and teachers. Campus Chief Mr. Dhurba Karki briefly discussed about the performances of Nepali media. He said Nepali media should give priority to positive news stories instead of just focusing on negative stories.
Prof. Rama Krishna Regmee talked about security challenges of journalists in the digital age. He said though digital age has brought some opportunities, many criminal groups are taking the unfair advantage of technology and journalists should be aware about it while conducting their duties. He presented details about journalist insecurity in the digital age such as illegal surveillance, website hacking, phishing, copyright offences, image manipulation, and location tracking among others.