The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) is raising funds to teach journalists the practices of conflict sensitive journalism so that they can contribute to soothing Nepal's contentious political climate. The program will also promote the voices of Nepal's minorities by deliberately including women and members of the untouchable caste (Dalit).
Since Nepal's civil war ended in 2006, dysfunctional politics have ruled the day. After 7 years of wrangling, the major parties have still not been able to agree upon a new constitution. To make matters worse, these parties have attempted to control the media by creating their own outlets or physically attacking journalists with whom they disagree. Since Nepal's media freedom only began in earnest after the civil war, it is vital that the trend of intimidation is halted.
Conflict sensitive journalists create articles that convey accurate information about conflict actors while not inflaming opinion on any side. Utilizing these practices will help foster constructive political dialogue that allows society to become aware of perspectives of people from the Dalit caste, women and indigenous groups. Promoting these voices will help the wider society to become aware of shared difficulties, build empathy between groups and help mend political and social divisions.
The program will target senior journalists, ensuring that the lessons taught will percolate through the Nepali media community. We hope that utilizing conflict sensitive journalism will lead to a decrease in violence against journalists. If journalists write articles that present accurate information instead of political viewpoints, they are less likely to be the target of political violence. Long-term, healthy and constructive political dialogue will help sooth Nepal's inflamed politics.