Orientation on access to information at Tribhuwan University
Media Action Nepal (MAN) with support from UNESCO Office Kathmandu organized an orientation program among media students at National Integrated College (NIC), Tribhuwan University (TU) on April 29, 2016.
The main purpose of the program was to inform students about the importance of marking World Press Freedom Day highlighting this year’s global theme. Delivering his welcome speech, Principal of National integrated College Indira Bahadur Malla lauded the MAN and UNESCO for organizing such important orientation at the college. He said the program provided an ample opportunity for the students to interact with the prominent media figures about the wide-range of issues related to freedom of speech and expression.
Laxman Datt Pant, Chairperson of Media Action Nepal presented a paper among experts and media students covering various issues related to freedom of speech and expression linking them with Right to Information. Pant also elaborated the activities being conducted by MAN in the field of democracy, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of press and physical and professional safety of journalists. In his paper, Pant shed light on current status of RTI law implementation and how RTI could be used as a reporting tool for the aspiring investigative journalists.
Coordinator of UNESCO RTI Project JB Biswokarma shared the activities being carried out by UNESCO in the field of RTI. He highlighted some international cases on how RTI has helped to maintain accountability and transparency of government and political parties. Chairperson of NIC Bhoj Bahadur Shah said the program provided him an opportunity to know about the freedom of press and expression. He thanked MAN for organizing such program in college. “Such program helps to enhance the study of media students and it is an opportunity for the students,” said Shah.
General Manager of Nepal Television Laxman Humagain spoke about importance of RTI to enhance the freedom of speech and expression. “RTI is a vital tool for the journalists as well as for the freedom of speech and expression,” said Humagain. Chairperson of Press Council Nepal (PCN) Borna Bahadur Kari said proper implementation of RTI law is a key for ensuring the freedom of speech and expression. He emphasized on the implementation of journalistic code of conduct and promoting healthy journalism. Senior Journalists Krishna Murai Bhandari said it is motivating factor that number of female student is increasing in the journalism education. Murai said despite the hardships, the young generation is joining the media industry.
After presentation from experts, students asked questions about the RTI and other issues related to freedom of speech and expression. There was a very fruitful interaction between experts and students about the importance of freedom of speech and expression. Media students said it is a great opportunity for them as they learned a lot about RTI implementation and other factors.
A total of 35 students studying at different colleges affiliated with TU participated in the orientation which was inclusive. Students were provided with the books and other materials published by MAN and UNESCO related to freedom of speech and expression.