Dialogue on Media and CSO Collaboration for Enabling Environment

Across the globe, civil society organizations (CSOs) and media have been viewed as key components of vibrant democratic society. And Nepal is no exception. In the fight against the repressive forces, both have displayed their activeness and joined hands with the political actors for the restoration of democracy in Nepal. However, in recent times, there are reports of widening gulf between the media and civil society. There also emerging voices about allegation and counter allegation between them.

In this backdrop, GoGo Foundation brought together the CSO leaders, media professionals, opinion makers, government representatives including academia in a dialogue program to reduce the trust deficit and creating an enabling environment between them- media and civil society.

The event was organized as part of the Civil Society: Mutual Accountability Project (CS: MAP) supported by FHI 360/USAID on 4th May 2018 in Kathmandu. After a short welcome speech, Executive Director of GoGo Foundation, Kedar Khadka briefly presented the CSO related outstanding issues i.e. lengthy process of CSO registration, renewal and project approval.

In his presentation, he maintained that despite fulfilling all the compliances, the CSOs have been alleged for defying the laws and come under the scanner citing several reasons. His presentation helped to set the tone for the intense dialogue among the participants. Diverse views and opinions were expressed by the participants representing different organization working in the country.

Mr Shiva Gaunle, the former president of Federation of Nepalese Journalist, presented a paper highlighting the issues pertinent with the CSO and media. He said the CSO are in building process in Nepal and also discussed how media perceive CSOs including overall civil society in the present scenario. It is often found that CSO expressed dismay over media's indifferences on their issues such as not publishing the 'press release' that result into widening of the gulf.

Mr Krishnahari Baskota, Chief, National Information Commissioner, acquainted a definition of CSOs and media. He further said that at this juncture both media and CSO should respect each other for cordial relationship between them. In his short presentation, he also talked about what are the key factors that lead to an environment of mutual trust between civil society and media.

Likewise, another commentator of the event and senior columnist, Yubraj Ghimire, also echoed the similar voice. He said that the role of CSO is to mount pressure on government and media's role is dissemination of such activities. But to the contrary, this has not happen.

The others who expressed their views and opinion in the event included Subodh Pyakurel, Dayasagar Shrestha, Govinda Acharya, Taranath Dahal, Bishnu Pokhrel and Laxman Datta Panta, Kumari Kharel and Narayan Giri.