Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (ACORAB) Nepal in a partnership with UNESCO office, Kathmandu has celebrated World Radio Day 2015 on February 13, 2015 in Kathmandu on the theme of ‘Youth and Radio’. The goal of this program is to promote greater participation of youth in radio, not only as listeners, but also as producers and broadcasters. The program featured paper presentation on two themes: 'the role of media in strengthening democracy' and 'youth and radio' which is followed by interactive discussion. The entire program was live-casted by community radios across the country.
The World Radio Day 2015 was inaugurated by Right Honorable Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala. The Prime Minister Koirala said that the radio has been key tool to bring peace, stability, democracy and democratic constitution through awareness programs. He recalled the success of people's movement and said it was only possible through active roles of broadcasting. In many rural areas, community radios are the only accessible form of media available to villagers. They play a crucial role in serving marginalized communities, strengthening democracy and enhancing participatory development.
He also said that community radio is reliable tools for dissemination information up to grassroots level. He lauded the role of radio in restoring democracy in the country and stressed on its positive role for peace and stability in the days ahead. On the occasion, Prime Minister Koirala, honored the then Minister for Communications and former Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal, who had issued the first license for community radio and also honored 'Radio Sagarmatha' as a first community radio.
After being felicitated, former Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal said that it is only possible through radio to create a new dimension towards creating new policies for a new Nepal.
Minendra Rizal, Minister for Information and Communication said the new information and communication policy that the government will introduce gives special priority to journalist and journalism and address all kinds of communications media. The State shall make special initiative to further expand the reach of information and communications across the country.
Mohan Chapagain, President of ACORAB said the government still couldn't recognize and support community radio as required. He requested to formulate the community radio friendly policy by saying that the current media policy is not addressing their issues.
Prabhu Sah, Chairman of international Relation and Labor Committee, said that only community radio have been raising the issues related agriculture and employment.
Laxman Datt Pant, Coordinator, Safety of Journalist, UNESCO Office, Kathmandu said that issues should be discussed over the safety of journalist and media houses. He asked to promote greater participation of youth in radio, not only as listeners, but also as producers and broadcasters.
Borna Bahadur Karki, President of Press Council Nepal said that capacity of the radio journalist should be enhanced to improve the quality of contents.
Min Bahadur Shahi, Vice president of AMARC Asia Pacific said that community radios playing greater role for protection and promotion of human rights, strengthening democracy and transformation of the society.
Mahendra Bista, President of Federation of Nepalese Journalist, said that popularity of media increasing day by day. He further suggested to the needs of improvement of the program contents.
Furthermore, Rabindra Mishra, Chief of BBC Nepali Sewa; Bishnu Hari Dhakal, former president of Broadcasting Association of Nepal (BAN); and Sheikh Chadtara, President of National Women Commission also addressed the program. The entire program was live-casted from 150 community radios through Community Information Network (CIN).
After concluding inaugural session, working session was commenced. The session was chaired by Laxman Datt Pant, coordinator, Safety of Journalist of UNESCO Kathmandu Office. The session started with paper presentation by Suresh Acharya on the role of media in strengthening democracy. He emphasized the media as the fourth organ of the state and to bring out all the information as news that carried out by the government and other institutions. Media should be protecting the rights of people, critically analyzed the issues, disclose the incidents of misuse of authority and corruption and promoting good governance.
The first paper was commented by Dr. Mahendra Bista, President of Federation of Nepalese Journalist. He said that radio should advocate for functional democracy and strengthen local governance by disclosing irregularities and misuse of authority and should make public entities accountable.
Another presentation was presented by Sharada Rizal on Youth and Media. She shared views on the importance of radio for economic, social and political development. It is through radio which serves illiterate people and makes them aware on various issues. She also mentioned about different radio program that deals with the problems of youth.
The paper was commented by Brabim Kumar KC. He said that the paper did not mention youths targeted programs as well as how to promote youth in radio and continuity of their profession in community radio sector. He also said that it has not addressed the issues of safety of Journalist.
The participants of the program said that radio has to improve quality of contents and suggested to increase focus on agriculture issues, and also asked to increase the content of youth.