British Ambassador Andy Sparkes and Giles Thomson, a visiting senior diplomat with the British foreign ministry (FCO), launched a competitive campaign on Investigative and Electoral Journalism.
According to the press release of British Embassy, the five month long competition funded by the British Embassy and jointly implemented by the Centre for Investigative Journalism-Nepal and the Thomson Foundation, London, is being run for the third consecutive year.
Addressing a group of editors and journalists at the British Embassy, Kathmandu, Ambassador Sparkes said: “I am delighted to open the competitive campaign for investigative and electoral journalism. A free, vibrant and professional media is essential to democracy and to the conduct of free and fair elections. This is the third year in a row we are supporting this campaign, and I am pleased to learn that a crucial new element has been added this year: namely training on accurate, impartial and responsible electoral reporting. The elections scheduled for 19 November are absolutely necessary for Nepal to move forward. Experienced British journalists will be coming to Nepal to share their expertise as part of this campaign, and I very much hope Nepali journalists will benefit from this and gain some additional skills to help them play their necessary role in the election process.”
Giles Thomson, Director South Asia, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK said: “It is crucial that elections happen on 19 November. UK committed to supporting free and fair polls. That is why we are providing £14m to support Nepal for these elections which includes support to the Election Commission, plans to support national and international observers, programs to help more women candidates get elected, and a program working with the youth to prevent violence.”
“In the modern world the media is one of the most powerful influences on how an election is run and is perceived to have been run. A free media is essential for free elections. And a fair media is essential for fair elections. So seen from London, this training is a huge opportunity journalists in Nepal to share experiences with and learn from UK journalists with many years experience in this field. It combines building the skills needed to investigate stories and hold power to account with hands on practical training on how to ensure your election reporting is accurate, impartial and responsible.
“This is a timely and important project and I encourage all Nepali journalists and their editors, including those who will not take part directly in the training, to consider submitting their work to the Investigative and Electoral Journalism Competition. I look forward to meeting the winners of the prize in London next year.
“Apart from these trainings and the competition, the UK, through DFID, is funding two other organizations in Nepal to deliver trainings to 150 Nepali journalists on election, accountability and anti-corruption reporting.”
As part of the campaign, Centre for Investigative Journalism-Nepal and Thomson Foundation will organize 5-day training sessions for 60 reporters in Kathmandu, Kanchanpur and Ilam. Two trainers from the UK will share their expertise on investigative journalism and electoral reporting.
These trainers will also visit several newsrooms in Kathmandu to discuss investigative techniques and electoral reporting with top editors, section heads, desk and copy editors and reporters.
The Centre for Investigative Journalism-Nepal invites submission of published/broadcast investigative and in-depth election-related reports from Nepali print, broadcast (radio) and online journalists for the competition. The contents of submitted reports should be based on the following themes: corruption, human rights violations, impunity and issues related to upcoming Constituent Assembly elections. Journalists will be responsible for the preparation and publication/broadcast of their own material.
Reports published or broadcast between 1 August 2013 and 31 December 2013 will be considered for the competition and will be evaluated by an independent panel of media professionals on the basis of standard criteria set by Centre for Investigative Journalism-Nepal. The top four winning journalists whose stories/reports are selected will be rewarded with an opportunity to attend short summer course on Investigative Journalism in the UK.
Last year’s winners- three reporters from Himal, Kantipur and Nagarik- went to London a couple of weeks back to attend a summer course and visit British newsrooms. Two reporters from Nagarik and Nepal won the first year’s competition.