“Without the positive role that the media played in the local elections, such peaceful elections would not have been possible.”
This statement, by Mr. Narendra Dahal, the Commissioner responsible for media management at the Election Commission Nepal (ECN) expressed at the opening of the Master Training of Trainers (MToT) on media and elections, stresses the value of professional media coverage in the success of events such as elections.
Inaugurating the Master Training, he also appealed to the media professionals disseminating election-related messages to respect the election code of conduct and contribute positively to a positive environment for the upcoming House of Representatives (HoR) and State Assembly (SA) elections.
ECN conducted the MToT on 4 October 2017 with the objective of enhancing the capacity of a group of master trainers, who will facilitate state-level trainings of 150 local trainers in seven locations on 13 October. The Electoral Support Project (ESP), is providing technical and operational support to ECN for all of these trainings.
“We are going to impart technical knowledge on the various aspects of the House of Representatives and State Assembly elections to media professionals at the center, regional and local levels because only well-informed journalists can ensure correct reporting”, Mr. Navaraj Dhakal, the Spokesperson and Joint Secretary of the ECN, highlighted.
“The performance of mass media in making the local elections a success has been significant, but the contexts of local elections and of the upcoming elections are different and Nepal’s first state-level elections are going to be a totally new experience, which made us feel the need to orient journalists on the general process of these elections”, Mr. Dhakal added.
The training includes a general overview of the HoR and SA Elections, an overview of electoral legal provisions including the Code of Conduct, the role of media in elections as well as mock polling.
“Based on the previous elections, we produced an in-depth manual, which will itself be a good reference on elections for the media professionals”, said Mr. Surya Aryal, the director of the Electoral Education and Information Centre of the ECN, “We are further improving the contents of the manual considering the inputs received from the participating trainers in this training.”
Sharing his experience, Mr. Govinda Chimoriya, a participant in the training, said, “The training provided us with an opportunity to discuss with election experts and obtain answers to doubts and questions, which might be raised by participants at local level”.
Photo Credits: UNDP Nepal
The Electoral Support Project- Phase II (ESP) is a technical assistance initiative which focuses on a long-term institutional and professional capacity development of the Election Commission (ECN) for conducting credible, inclusive and transparent elections. The objectives of the project are 1) to strengthen the capacity of the ECN to function as an independent and credible institution, 2) to allow the conduct of the election cycle in an effective, sustainable, and credible manner, and 3) to increase democratic participation, particularly for under-represented and disadvantaged segments of the Nepali society. ESP is currently funded by EU and Norway.