Province 3 press registrar’s office holds online journalism workshop


KATHMANDU: Province 3 Press Registrar’s Office hosted a workshop focused on improving operation of online journalism in the country.

At the interaction held on Friday morning, Press Registrar Rewati Prasad Sapkota talked on the potential and challenges of online journalism. Describing journalism as a mirror of the society, he said, online journalism at present has been facing challenges as the media houses have to find the readers, recalling that previously readers had to find and choose from the traditional printed news.

Moreover, he said social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube among others have limited the business opportunities from online journalism in the sense they cover up news as well as advertisement.

Provincial Affairs Committee President Madhav Poudel, Nepal Communist Party (NCP)’s Provincial Parliamentary Party Chief Whip Rameshwar Phuyal, Minister of Internal Affairs and Law of Province 3 Salikram Jamarkattel and Press Registrar Rewati Prasad Sapkota attend a workshop hosted by Province 3 Press Registrar’s Office, in Kathmandu, on Friday, December 20, 2019. Photo: Suresh Chaudhary/THT

During the event, journalist former editor of Pahilo Post and renowned blogger of mysansar, Umesh Shrestha made a presentation of the history of online journalism in Nepal. He presented how media houses in the early 90s faced challenges when Nepali fonts could be displayed only in Unicode and had to be downloaded and converted in lack of complete access to the international digital world.

He also revealed how media houses producing news in local languages had abandoned online journalism after struggling to raise funds and sorting out a clear source of income. Shrestha asserted that at present, online readers or consumers rely on news stories published without verification. He remarked that fake stories published online could cause chaos among readers.

Likewise, media expert Prabesh Subedi talked about technical issues faced by online institutions in the country. Focusing on ‘internet and its advantages, Subedi expressed that the internet was an open space for all fields and sectors.

He further shared that 66 per cent of the total population in the country had access to the internet of which 55 per cent are using costly mobile internet while 15 per cent are using stable internet.

He also advised that the press registrar’s office should arrange training sessions in order to increase digital literacy rate so as to increase local consumers of online products including news.

“Province 3 government should focus on developing online media houses as an online business firm,” stressed Subedi. He gave an example of how the BBC, apart from being a news agency, has established itself as the seller of goods such as watches among other products.

The Chief Guest at the workshop, Minister of Internal Affairs and Law of Province 3 Salikram Jamarkattel stressed the need for monitoring and regulating media houses. He opined that media houses should assist the provincial government in the amendment of the constitution rather than criticising it.

On the occasion, Provincial Affairs Committee President Madhav Poudel said the press management and regularisation was a necessary step. He urged mediapersons to support the provincial government in making an amendment to the bill related to the press.

Likewise, Nepal Communist Party (NCP)’s Province 3 Parliamentary Party Chief Whip Rameshwar Phuyal also stressed the need for making an amendment to the bill. He said the provincial government was looking forward to discouraging malpractices of producing fake news by taking actions after making changes to the codes.

During the interaction, section officer at the Ministry of Social Development, Asim Ghising was of the view that there was no country where there was zero censorship of media while Federation of Nepali Journalist (FNJ) Kathmandu representative argued that online media houses must have press freedom at any cost.

Press registrar Sapkota disclosed that the registrar’s office was going to hold ‘Mobile Journalism Training Session’. He also revealed that the office had planned to establish a welfare fund for journalists.

The registrar further said fellowships and allowances of about Rs 50,000 would be provided to women journalists given the challenges and  pressures they have to face during and after maternity leave.

Sapkota concluded the event on sharing that the registrar’s office had a view of changing the process for registering online media houses and providing new identity cards.

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