By Harsha Man Maharjan
Media Training. It sounds vague. Simply it is training on different aspects of media: advertisement, program production etc. What is about mass communication training ? It is vaguer than media training. In Nepal media training began as a mass communication training. This is what the existing documents show.
It was in 1960s-the time of Panchayat period, when the state banned political parties. The state was focusing on nation building and development. And mass communication training at that time was a step to develop media sector as a whole.
So, if there was a mass communication training, who were the organizers and participants ? Where do we get its information ? Whom should we meet ?
Well, we must thank Tek Bahadur Khatri for writing about mass media in Panchyat period. His book, Mass-Communication in Nepal, also contains a chapter on this training. And he get a lot of information from this book. According to this book UNESCO helped Nepal to organize a seminar-cum-training on Mass Communication in late 1960s. Actually Department of Information and Nepal National Commission for UNESCO co-organized this seminar in Kathmandu from December 1 to 29, 1967. According to Tek Bahadur Khatri, also a then deputy director of Department of Information and the director of the seminar, the seminar-training program had three objectives:
a) Attracting the attention of all circles to the importance of Mass Communication, in particular its role in the country’s social and economic development, and promoting the widest possible co-operation in the development of information media.
b) Contributing to the training of a substantial number of information personnel engaged in various spheres of Mass Communication, improving their professional approach and techniques and stimulating an open debate in which the present conditions and future possibilities of Mass Communication in Nepal would be analyzed and possible solutions to problems found, especially as regards the building-up of more effective, nation-wide machinery of developmental public relations;
c) Ensuring a fuller, more effective participation of information officers and journalists in the “Back to Village” National Campaign, launched on December 16, 1967, and in the overall national effort to intensify the participation of the people in the country’s social and economic development through the Panchayat system (Khatri 1976: 97).
So, we clearly see that the program had to objectives. One was to development mass media in Nepal, and second, to promote Panchayat ideology through these media. 31 journalists from all over Nepal and other people from government organizations participated in that program. The program continued for a month and it had four parts: communication and development, techniques and campaign, news and press, and the radio and audiovisuals. And each part lasted one week in the program. Besides 21 Nepali experts who gave talks and presented papers on different aspects of Nepali media and Nepali politics like its history, situation etc, there was an international trainers or experts. G.P. Roppa, Mass Communication Consultant. Roppa contributed talks on 12 subjects- communication process, approaches to developmental PR, news gathering, news construction, editorial work, broadcaster and programs, world press history, international news agency etc.
Roppa also prepared a report on the program and survey of Nepali media for UNESCO. This report which is available in UNESCO’s website, tells more about the atmosphere of the program. He had mentioned that participants showed reluctance in early days, and this reluctance gradually disappeared.
At the end of the program, the participants recommended government to prepare planning for communication and to organize regular training program which would be helpful in developing journalism in Nepal. This program must have pressed government to continue these kind of training in future.
Khatri, Tek Bahadur. 1976. Mass-Communication in Nepal. Kathmandu: Department of Information.
Roppa, G.M. 1968. Final Report on a Mass Communication Training and Fact-finding Mission to Nepal. Unpublished report, UNESCO.