Public Funding and Transparency in South Asia

The quest to promote a transparency and accountability in Nepal’s system of governance has continued to suffer setbacks. Ever since I first started to grasp the importance of transparency and accountability, both words have been treated as mere political catch phrases among politicians who only wish to pay lip service to them. There is a saying in Nepali, ‘jun jogi ayepani kani chireko’ which means that everybody has the same nature. Linking this saying to political parties, it might suggest that all political parties are the same regardless of the differences in their ideologies since they do not bring about change in the lives of ordinary Nepalese. There is widespread sentiment among citizens in Nepal that political parties are wildly corrupt, and this appears to be supported by Transparency International’s 2015 report that shows that Nepal’s political leadership has not seriously attempted to deal with corruption in the country.Continue reading

Consolidating democracy in Nepal through transparent campaign finance

Nepal’s democracy has struggled to deliver since its 2006 People’s Movement, which ended the decade long civil war and established Nepal as a republic. Plagued by corruption, nepotism, and an inability to execute basic duties of governance, the country’s leading political parties have often found themselves in a crisis of public trust that has strengthened the hand of ‘radical political parties and royalist forces seeking to destabilize the state.

During elections, the widespread practice of campaign spending at levels far exceeding legal limits through donations from undisclosed contributors has fueled popular frustration. Furthermore, this practice has distorted representative democracy through the sale of political office, thereby making financiers rather than ordinary citizens the key beneficiaries of the electoral process.

In his presentation at the National Endowment for Democracy, Washington DC, CMR-Nepal chairman Tilak Pathak explained why campaign finance must be reformed in order to consolidate democracy in Nepal. Drawing from case studies gathered throughout his career in journalism, he traced the money behind Nepal’s elections and proposed effective mechanisms that can help provide greater transparency and accountability. His presentation was followed by comments with Ivan Doherty.

Download the PDF of Pathak’s presentation here.

Nepal Twitter Users Survey report published

The Center for Media Research – Nepal has published the Nepal Twitter Users Survey 2015: Summary of the Findings. The survey, conducted in January 2015 among 625 respondents, is the continuation of the similar survey conducted in 2013.

The survey is on three broad areas: 1. demographics of Nepali Twitter users, 2. Twitter users’ opinions about the microblogging platform, and 3. psychology of Twitter users on use of Twitter.

To download the report, go to Resources / Download page.

CMR Chair Pathak Receives NED Fellowship

Tilak Pathak, the chairman of the Center for Media Research – Nepal (CMR-Nepal), has received the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow Program 2015-16 offered by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

cmr-tilakPathak will spend 5 months (October 2015 to February 2016) in Washington, DC, USA working on a project “Promoting Financial Transparency within Political Parties in Nepal“. Pathak has worked as political correspondent and op-ed editors for top national daily newspapers and a magazine in Nepal throughout his journalistic career.

One of the founding vice-president of the CMR-Nepal, Pathak was unanimously elected chairman in 2013 and will continue the role until early 2016.

The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program hosts democratic activists, scholars, and journalists for five-month fellowships, bringing fresh insights and perspectives to Washington, DC. The fellowship offers an important opportunity to explore new ideas in a comparative context, undertake individual research, and share best practices with one another.

CMR-Nepal family congratulates Pathak for the fellowship and wish him all the success in his project.

CMR joins GFMD, EJN & Web We Want

The Center for Media Research – Nepal (CMR-Nepal) has joined the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) and the Web We Want as a member.

CMR is an associated member of the GFMD. The GFMD is an international membership network of media assistance groups that highlights the importance of independent, pluralistic and sustainable media in social and economic development. GFMD members share a common goal: to foster free, professional and pluralistic media, leading to more open societies, greater transparency and enhanced freedom of expression.

The Ethical Journalism Network promotes ethics, good governance and independent regulation of media content. The EJN was formed in 2011 as a unifying professional campaign bringing together owners, editors and media staff to strengthen the craft of journalism. It works across all platforms and supports partnership at national and international level between media, journalism support groups and the public.

Web We Want is a global initiative of the World Wide Web Foundation. We help everyone to shape and claim the future of the Web.