Inaugural Address Delivered by Rt. Honorable Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, at the Inaugural function of 38th Annual Gathering/11th
AIBD General Assembly and
Associated Meetings (Kathmandu, July 25-27, 2011)
· Chairperson of this inaugural function and President of the AIBD General Conference,
· Minister for Information and Communications,
· Chairman of AIBD Executive Board,
· Director of AIBD,
· Distinguished guests in the dais,
· Your Excellencies,
· Delegates and Participants from across the Asia region, and
· Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to welcome the distinguished delegates and participants, coming all the way from respective countries to attend this 38th Annual Gathering/11th AIBD General Assembly and Associated Meetings in Kathmandu. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to AIBD executive board, director and their team for your keen interest and splendid effort to organize this conference in this beautiful Himalayan country.
What I understand about this meeting is that the contributions, made by Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development in promoting media in our region, have played a greater role in integrating and strengthening the broadcasters' community in Asia and abroad. Nepal, a full member of AIBD is proud to host this conference and meetings of the regional inter-governmental organization servicing member countries in the field of electronic media development. I am also happy to note that state broadcasters of Nepal have been receiving the supports and espousal from AIBD since the era of nineties.
Apart from providing information, broadcast media is highly influential in shaping public opinion, changing social attitudes, entertaining people and bringing about social integration in a society full of diversity.
Lack of timely policies, technological resources, trainings and professional standards are the major obstacles in achieving a vibrant and cohesive electronic media environment. In absence of these it would be difficult for media persons to access, impart or disseminate accurate and meaningful information. This could also affect national politics as the political information is dominant on broadcast media these days. The government therefore is keenly observing the state of media and their practices and open to work with international organizations like AIBD for their professional and technological development.
Broadcasting media, having its pervasive power and wider influence should always be mindful to country's situation, challenges and existing values. In the name of independence and to lead in the competitive commercial race, they should not disseminate biased and sensitive information, threatening social harmony and national integrity. I think, media should carry the issues in a way that all voices are represented in a justifiable manner.
The government, in its capacity is always ready to support media for their infrastructural and professional growth. I stand here today to affirm that Nepal, even on this uneasy political situation, is keen to assist in up gradation of resources and content of the media. I also seek intellectual and technical supports from resourceful and developed international community for the same.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Many of us know that Nepal is undergoing an unpleasant political situation after the expiry of Constituent Assembly without promulgating new constitution. People who were expecting new constitution are tired of watching conflict and wrangling within and between parties, who they trusted for deciding the fate of the country. The country and its people are still starving for durable peace and new constitution. Simultaneously, we have to accelerate the development activities to appease the desire of many people aspiring to see betterment in their livelihood. The people want all the political forces and stakeholders to unite and work together for peace, constitution and prosperity in the country. Amid these challenges, the present government is making efforts for forging political consensus among all sides so that we can settle existing differences and go for an election, which is announced for November 22, 2012. Here again, I would like to reiterate that the election only can bring the deviated politics back on right track and end the present state of "uncertainty" constitutionally.
In Nepal, the paradigm and the dynamics of media practices have been perpetually changing as in the new democracies. In this changing context, Nepal Television and Radio Nepal have been playing, to some extent, their role as public broadcaster being responsible to the people rather than only being accountable to the government as in the past. In the software sector, Nepalese media have crossed a long path to obtain professionalism, yet, in the technical or hardware sector, it has a long way to go to get into the world of digitization. The professional institution like Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development, I think, definitely could be a supportive institution to technically enhance and upgrade our broadcasters, as it has been doing the same for the past many years.
Nepal TV and Radio Nepal are the only national broadcasting system that have been functioning under the government umbrella, but in the coming future, the government is going to improve its policy as dramatic changes are taking place in the sphere of broadcasting. At this outset, we have already started homework for Public Broadcasting System to convert it into autonomous state media. AIBD could be our potential partner in this effort. We acknowledge that the vision, mission and the objectives of AIBD are worthy to hook out from the traditional pattern of broadcasting system of Nepal in making a vibrant and cohesive media environment through policy and resource development. In this regard, I would like to request AIBD to provide a concrete environment in mobilizing the intellectual and technological resources.
I was informed that AIBD has already entered the final leg of its ongoing 5-year action plan and Kathmandu Conference would be a re-visionary venue for charting future strategy. Particularly, the initiatives taken by AIBD in reshaping electronic mediascape and the information and communication industries within and outside the region is greatly commendable. The media strategy programs that are being adopted by AIBD as its primary focus area on poverty alleviation, HIV & AIDS, Cultural Diversity, good governance, ethnic and cultural conflicts and the empowerment of women, cultural minorities and disadvantaged groups through ICTs are equally relevant to the countries like Nepal.
Lastly, I hope, this conference and associated meetings will thoroughly review the past activities and while looking into the future projects will identify and meet the developmental needs of the member countries.
I would like to thank you all again and wish for the grand success of this impressive gathering.