The Role of Media in the Remaking of Nepal

A BBC Media Action Policy Briefing

A new policy briefing by BBC Media Action exploring the role of the media in shaping the future of Nepal has been recently published.

The Policy Briefing, entitled: Accountability, nation and society: the role of the media in the remaking of Nepal, provides an overview of the issues facing the media of Nepal in the current political moment.

Based on more than 30 interviews with leading members of Nepal’s media, government, civil society and international development communities, the briefing also draws on public opinion research. 

The briefing concludes that:

  • Nepal is at a pivotal point in its political evolution and media will be vital in shaping the nation’s future.
  • While corruption remains endemic and the media is failing to hold government to account, it is doing as effective (and perhaps a more effective) job as any other set of accountability institutions in the country. 
  • Television and radio remain relatively well trusted by the public and three quarters of the population believe that the media is effective at holding government to account.  But declining levels of media freedom threaten to undermine the media’s accountability role.
  • Nepal’s fragmented and fractured politics is increasingly interacting with a media that is also increasing fragmented, fractured and politicised.  As politics become more identity based, media is both reflecting and legitimising the diversity of the country, and sometimes fuelling societal division along ethnic lines. 
  • Media can also solder social cohesion, but there are limited market incentives for a media that creates dialogue across the divides in society.
  • The international community has tended not to prioritise media issues in its governance analysis and support and is underestimating the importance of the media both in deterring corruption and in enabling the country to navigate a future political settlement.

For further details, you can read the policy briefing in full or access the Executive Summary.