Visualising development: our experience of making documentaries

By Sudeep Uprety

William Shatner, a Canadian actor once said, “I didn't realize that, in doing a documentary, there is this process of discovery. It's not like a film or a play with a set script. It sort of reveals itself.” One of the motives of starting our company, Nepal Institute of Research and Communications (NIRC) was to depict this reality as it is – with of course the creative touch, which our awesome team of videographers have plenty. NIRC is blessed to have a talented bunch of videographers led by Manish Maharjan - giving us a “voice” to talk about development.

In the course of a year of our establishment, we have been fortunate to work on interesting documentary projects and the experience has been amazing. We have begun to realise what it takes to develop even a one-minute video. There are numerous considerations to take in with regards to the content and still make it lively and watchable.

Script is supreme

A well written script makes a job of a documentary team much easier. A detailed storyboard and script ensures proper direction and approach that the team needs to take before the filming takes place. It also prepares the subjects involved for their role, for instance, having questions ready before an interview or explaining about a certain scenario or the surrounding.

Bringing team together

Easier said than done, bringing everyone on the same page is difficult, people have different opinions about where should a particular content go in the documentary, how should it look like, language, tone, visuals or B-rolls, sound and visual effects, among others. In that situation, it is up to the project focal point and the documentary lead to initiate the review process and take decisions, also taking into account what other team members have suggested.   

Emphasising on ethics

As a team, we were also mindful of ethical considerations before putting out a video. So, we discussed with our collaborators before starting the shooting and also during the post production stage. We discussed about the informed consent, anonymity and not disclosing identities of special subjects such as people with mental health problems.

Blending creativity with rich content

As a company we were just starting out but had a good team of creative people. Our major concern was how to blend our creative instincts do discuss on social issues such as mental health and menstruation. The direction or the approach was not so clear in the beginning but gradually, we are learning to find the middle path. Contemporary techniques such as drone shots, background scores and close up shots have been extensively used on one hand while on the other, rich discussions with the collaborators to finalise the content, language and tone for clear messaging.

It has been a great learning experience so far for us, NIRC as a team to use documentary as a medium for visual storytelling – getting the message across to advocate on various development agendas in Nepal. We are grateful to our collaborators – TPO Nepal, Visible Impact and Nepal Forum for Restorative Justice for giving us this opportunity.

Our mission to communicate for development continues ...

Sudeep is Co-Founder and CEO at NIRC. Tweets @UpretySudeep

Pranesh Gautam case and freedom of speech: Practitioners’ Perspective

Review of the movie, Bir Bikram 2 is the talk of the town. Pranesh Gautam, a comedian and member of a popular Nepali Facebook page, Meme Nepal was put into controversy after the makers of the movie filed a case against the comedian alleging him of defaming the movie and the actors and reviewing the movie in such a way that it seriously affected business of the movie. Pranesh was put behind bars which sparked a lot of criticism within Nepal and even international comedians came for his support. Protestors regard this as a blatant action against freedom of speech and against the spirit of democracy and the Constitution. #FreePraneshGautam was one of the trending hashtags in social media over the last week in the country.

We, NIRC, sought responses from four law, justice and human rights practitioners - Apekshya Niraula, Atit Rijal, Barun Ghimire and Ram Tiwari about what they feel about this case. Here is what they opined:

How do you react to the Pranesh Gautam and review of movie Bir Bikram 2 episode?

Apekshya Niraula:

Firstly, Pranesh as a citizen of Nepal and audience of Bir Bikram 2 including all citizens of Nepal have a right to freedom of thoughts and expression. Along with these rights, he has also some duties such as not defame social dignity of any individual or organization. In this regard, Bir Bikram 2 unit also has some duties that need to consider the opinion and voices of their audiences and address it accordingly.

Atit Rijal:

Pranesh Gautam reviewed a movie and criticised it with honest expressions.

Barun Ghimire:

The episode of Pranesh Gautam and Bir Bikram 2 (team) should not be seen as an isolated event. We must look at instance like this from a macro perspective considering all the stakeholders involved. This is emblematic of misuse of power and influence to restrict individual’s rights to expression and opinion.  This is clear example of how people in power can misuse legal system and government apparatus to avoid opinion that is unfavourable to them.

Ram Tiwari:

I am surprised a bit since it signals whether we are inching towards a context of non-coexistence and intolerance. Pranesh and the movie team, both have tried to outsmart each other, but surely at different success scales.

As a restorative justice advocate, I see how law can be used for political gains and that having law doesn’t necessarily mean that we have justice. Law isn’t justice, it’s clear. Nor does having law ensure having peace or social harmony.

While we see civil and political community polarize, we haven’t heard what the actual stakeholders of this issue – Pranesh, Bir Bikram 2 team and the government – have to say on this. What were the reasons/needs behind doing whatever they are doing? We don’t know much.

What are the legal/justice/human rights related aspects related to this case in terms of our country’s legal provisions, cyber law, etc?

Apekshya Niraula:

I have listed some of the legal aspects which will be applicable in this issue.

Article 17, 2 (a) clearly mentions about the freedom of opinion and expression

Article 19 (1) mentions Right to communication: (1) No publication and broadcasting or dissemination or printing of any news item, editorial, feature article or other reading, audio and audio-visual material through any means whatsoever including electronic publication, broadcasting and printing shall be censored.

Article 20: Rights relating to justice (1), 20 (2), 20 (3) and 20 (5)

20 (1) - No person shall be detained in custody without informing him or her of the ground for his or her arrest.

20 (2) - Any person who is arrested shall have the right to consult a legal practitioner of his or her choice from the time of such arrest and to be defended by such legal practitioner. Any consultation made by such person with, and advice given by, his or her legal practitioner shall be confidential.  Provided this clause shall not apply to a citizen of an enemy state. Explanation: For the purpose of this clause, "legal practitioner" means any person who is authorized by law to represent any person in any court.

20 (3) - Any person who is arrested shall be produced before the adjudicating authority within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to such authority; and any such person shall not be detained in custody except on the order of such authority.

Provided that this clause shall not apply to a person held in preventive detention and to a citizen of an enemy state.

20 (5) - Every person charged with an offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty of the offence.

Article 23 (1): No person shall be held under preventive detention unless there is a sufficient ground of the existence of an immediate threat to the sovereignty, territorial integrity or public peace and order of Nepal.

Muluki Criminal Code

Number 200 (1) states no person shall be detained on any ill intentions except the law has stated.

Number 305 (1) No person shall rebuke another with the intention of defaming and demoralizing

Number 306 (2a) (2c) – No person shall publish or broadcast any contents intentionally which defame the dignity, morality and popularity of another people. / Mock another people and indirectly accuse them

ICCPR 1966

Article 18 – Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Article 19 – Right to hold opinions without interference.

Nepal being a state party to ICCPR in accordance with Treaty Act 1990, Article 9 has explicitly mentioned that international law to be given a domestic effect by the state parties to the international convention.

Atit Rijal:

Section 47 of The Electronic Transaction Act is supposedly applied in this case to accuse Mr. Gautam of publishing illegal materials in electronic form whereby the court could order for an imprisonment of up to five years or a fine not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Rupees or both.

The Court has declined the plea for bail since Nepal does not entertain bails on offences that have an imprisonment term exceeding three years. This is however a very unjust concept that the Courts have been following not only in this particular case but in every other cases.

The Police also get the upper hand in cases like these during the period of investigations. So before the "abhiyogpatra" is registered with the court, a plea of bail is rarely heard.

There are stipulations whereby the court is to elaborately analyze the evidences furnished by the police to gain approval for holding someone under custody. This is however seen to be followed in rare instances. The court does very little to protect someone's right to be protected from unreasonable custodies.

Barun Ghimire:

Freedom of opinion and expression is right guaranteed under our constitution and various human rights treaties Nepal is party to. There is legal clarity on what freedom of expression is, when can it be restricted and what are the procedural requirements for it. This row indicated curtailment of individual’s freedom of expression without lawful justification accepted under the constitutional and human rights realm.

Further, we also need to be clear on what offense fall under cybercrime and what does not. There must be clear understanding of defamation too; we need to know difference between criticism and defamation. We also need to make distinction between ‘public figure’, ‘public content’ and ‘private affairs’. The idea of defamation and subjective standard for public figure and private person is different. We must not be blinded by what we think is right or wrong or our liking or disliking, we need to be in line with legal requirement. In this row the cyber law has been wrongfully been resorted.

Ram Tiwari:

We have a constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression (Article 17). So seen that way, this arrest of Pranesh is unconstitutional. But the constitution and laws have also stipulate that any work to incite hatred or social disharmony is a criminal offense. And again, which acts ‘incite’ what is open to interpretation.

Do you think this move by the government is a right one? Why do you think so?

Apekshya Niraula:

Here, the intention of both the disputing parties is yet to be clear. So in my opinion, the concerned authorities should conduct an investigation on the issue and find out the motive behind the actions of both the parties. If their action as such is proved to be punishable by law the authorities has a responsibility towards it accordingly. However, the dialogue between the involved parties is essential to take further steps.

Atit Rijal:   

It is actually barbaric to keep someone under custody for expressing thoughts. This is not only against the very fundamental right of freedom of expression and opinion but also against the very notion of democratic practice.

The concepts of discretion, judgment and verdicts revolve around societal values and the constitutional guarantees. Orders and decisions of Courts are to show the nature of the society we live in. A judge should consider these very principles while rendering orders, but very little is done to properly analyze the consequences the orders might portray.

The custodial order rendered by the District Court is against the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression and opinions.

Barun Ghimire:

Government has obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of individual. The role of government body particularly Nepal Police has not been up to the mark desirable in democratic society where rule of law prevails. The way Pranesh was arrested, held in judicial custody and charge-sheet not being filed in due time reflects that government agency has failed to fulfill its obligation.  

Ram Tiwari:

It might be ‘right’ from the perspective of the government or law. But the main point is, it isn’t contributing anything to what the government generally wants to happen – peace and social harmony. And when people are suffering because of this act, this is certainly not the right move.

Do you think social media personalities/Youtubers/comedians/social commentators need to draw a line as well? If so, why and how?

Apekshya Niraula:

Being a law abiding citizen, every citizen is liable to follow certain duties while enjoying their rights. The professional ethics must be followed by all the professionals that will avoid the problems of similar nature in future. We are living in a diverse society and have a range of social media followers. Thus, the social media personalities/Youtubers/comedians/social commentators and others must be sensitive of individual dignity, culture, tradition, religion, geography, political belief and other aspects before producing their news or opinion.

Atit Rijal:

In this case Mr. Gautam freely exercised his right to voice his thoughts, whereby he chose to do it humorously. These type of aggressive humors have been accepted by civilizations all around the globe apart from some states which choose to govern arbitrarily.

If the constitution guarantees freedom of opinions and expressions, then the person exercising such rights also has the right to offend the listener or viewer. The first amendment of the Constitution of the United States provide restrictions on threats and incitement while "offensive" speech is protected (Offence here is not a commission but is related to feeling upset, annoyed or resentful).

Free Speeches are actually the foundations of a democratic society. Offending someone is not against any laws but inciting them to act in an illegal manner or threatening them are against the notion of right to speech.

If someone is offended over someone else's expression, then he/she should again opine against such expressions and voice a counter-thought. Isn't that supposed to create reasonable debates? And isn't this the very notion of democracy?

Unless the media personalities/Youtubers/comedians/social commentators are not inciting violence and are not threatening or deliberately hiding facts so as to twist the issue, they do not have to worry about crossing any lines.

Barun Ghimire:

There must be limitation and line need to be drawn. For instance, hate speech, racial abuse, content aimed at disturbing public order, undermining national sovereignty etc. and sort of content restricted under domestic and international law must be complied with. Media personalities are not above law and must comply with legal standards.

Ram Tiwari:

Yes! Before we do something on public, we certainly should be mindful of its consequences. The same rule applies to the government.

What do you think is the long term solution to this problem?

Apekshya Niraula:

As a restorative justice enthusiast, I think the longer term solution to the problem is a broader dialogue with the involved parties of this incident where the needs of the both parties should be understood by each other and let them seek the solution by themselves. Since, we are only relying on the assumptions and other news coverage, we aren’t in the position to state who or what is wrong. Both of the parties should be aware about not jeopardizing the rights of each other 

Atit Rijal:

In the specified case, the district court order can be challenged instantaneously with higher courts that have the right to intervene over such orders. These successful applications could act/serve as precedents for protection of freedom of opinions and expression. Also the judges must interpret statutes in harmony to the Constitutional guarantees and international democratic principles.

Barun Ghimire:

  1. Awareness and clarity on the content of law
  2. Training of law enforcement officials on new form of crimes
  3. Holding those who misuse legal system accountable
  4. Vigilance while drafting of laws

Ram Tiwari:

Creating spaces for diversity and difference is important. This needs both short- and long-term engagement from the government and civil society.

Building capacity for grant proposal writing in Nepal

By Sudeep Uprety

Writing comes naturally to some while others think it is a struggle for them. As development communicator, I was frequently consulted by students and early career development professionals to help them in developing grant proposals to raise funds for their organisations and business ventures. This led to the birth of Grant Proposal Writing Training Series, initiated by Nepal Institute of Research and Communications (NIRC), a research and communications training institute. Through this initiative, we have successfully completed five batches of training to over 100 participants since September, 2018 in Kathmandu, with the last training held in January 19-20, 2019.

Our two-day training programme has been designed with a mix of both conceptual and practical sessions. Our sessions comprise of introduction to grant proposal writing; key elements of a bid document and things to consider before preparing for bid development; components of a Technical Proposal (such as background, understanding of the context and Terms of Reference, study design, implementation plan, team composition and project governance, quality assurance mechanism, risk assessment and mitigation strategies, monitoring and evaluation framework and annexes); and Financial Proposal (such as implementation budget, human resource budget, budget summary and financial justifications).

We also had practical sessions for participants about developing conceptual framework about the scope of work, developing project implementation plan and human resource mobilisation plan, risk assessment and mitigation strategies.

Likewise, understanding that calls for proposals not just limit to developing technical and financial proposals, we also oriented the participants briefly about the styles and samples of developing responses to Expression of Interest (EoI) and Concept Note.

Finally, we also discussed with the participants about effective bid packaging – reminding minute details such as submission formats, deadlines, writing in Plain English, email etiquette and file size limitations for online submission, proper addressing in the cover letter, among others.

Apart from our flagship training programme, we have also provided proposal writing trainings for other organizations such as World Vision International, Mercy Corps and Kamal Rural Municipality in Province 1.

Based on our experience of developing grant proposals for different agencies, some of the top tips:

Do’s

  • Digest the call for proposal properly – understand the objectives; scope of work; expectations from the funding agency; scope of work; deliverables; evaluation criteria and administrative requirements (technical and financial proposal guidelines; submission format and deadline, documents to submit)
  • Identify your team members – who could contribute to proposal development relevant to the nature and subject matter of the call for proposal
  • Develop a proposal plan – devise a strategy to engage your team members to contribute in developing the proposal and provide them a deadline well ahead of the final submission deadline leaving enough time for compilation and review
  • Develop a review team comprised of subject matter and language experts to polish the proposal
  • Have a check list to ensure that all required documents are completed before submission
  • Submit the proposal in time in order to avoid any last minute accidents (such as problems in uploading large files and no/weak internet connection)

Don’ts

  • Apply a blanket approach – explaining similar sort of competencies in all kinds of calls
  • Have a massive team – having a lot of discussion and very less time to come up with a unified strategy
  • Have many writers – making many people write will make it difficult to compile the write-up and ensure coherence of ideas; also makes it difficult to standardise the language
  • Start writing before having a clarity of ideas – writing while you are confused makes your strategy weak and does not convince the funding agencies that you are well prepared to carry out the task
  • Submit in haste – submitting well ahead of the deadline doesn’t give an edge over the other applicants and moreover increases your chances of missing some important points that you would have wanted to include

Easier said than done, writing a successful grant proposal requires clarity of thoughts in terms of proposed strategies; dedicated team; and the sensibility to understand the priorities and expectations of the funding agency. Our experience of conducting these workshops have also been documented in a short video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PKLfOAK7hw&t=9s
Sudeep Uprety is a development communications professional and is Co-Founder and CEO at NIRC. Tweets @UpretySudeep

Communicating effectively as policymakers: Some tips

By Sudeep Uprety

Policymakers as public figures hold great responsibility and accountability in what they say. To give some context, some months ago, Law Minister in Nepal had to resign from his post after his controversial remark regarding Nepali medical students studying abroad. Likewise, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Yadav was heavily criticised in social media for his inability to converse in English during the Investment Summit that took place in April, 2019.

In another gathering of a policy discussion workshop with policymakers in Nepal which I attended, one speaker was slotted thirty minutes for his presentation. He spent the first fifteen minutes addressing the dignitaries and welcoming them. For the next half of his presentation, he had about forty PowerPoint slides which he just read through facing towards the screen and with his back towards the audience. The entire slides were about chronological history of evolution of a policy. He continued this narration till the last “Thank You” slide and then just ended his presentation. As an audience, I couldn’t understand what message he wanted to convey, if at all.       

In this light, it is important for public figures such as policymakers to learn and practice effective communications skills.

Here are my seven tips:

  1. Know the occasion: It is important as an invitee to understand the purpose of an event – why are you invited there and what are you supposed to speak. Sometimes, these things are mentioned in the invitation letters but also better to clarify with the organiser(s) about what is expected from you. It makes your life much easier, to prepare for the event accordingly.
  2. Presentation is not karaoke singing: Presentations or written speeches are not meant to be spoken like how you are waiting for the words in the video screen while doing karaoke singing. It makes your audiences totally disinterested and shows you are ill prepared. So, it becomes very important for you to spend some time reading through and understanding the content that you are going to deliver.  
  3. Avoid unnecessary addressing: Especially in political gatherings, policymakers spend unnecessary extra time on addressing to ‘please’ some powerful political figures present at the event. It would be better to avoid these unnecessary addressing which will save precious time for important discussions – for which the event is organised.  
  4. Focus on key messages: In most cases, you have around 15-30 minutes to speak. So, better to talk about the most important issues that you feel needs to be covered and the ones could be left out. For instance, you need not put up a slide with an entire paragraph about provisions of a certain policy but just include in bullet points about key highlights from that policy that also only if relevant to be discussed for the event.  
  5. Presentation as storytelling: It is important to think yourself as an audience and present your ideas/opinions that would interest your audience. So, considering the multiple learning capabilities (visual, auditory or kinesthetic) of diverse audiences, you need to ‘style’ your content accordingly - emphasising on important words while you speak, using relevant photos/videos and bodily movements.
  6. Enrich your knowledge banks: As policymakers, you need to have good advisers who are knowledgeable or can extract information/evidence about issues that concern you. As a public figure, every word you say would be interpreted as voice from an ‘authority’ and therefore, it is important to understand the value of evidence to put forward your arguments strongly. A fact sheet to carry during any public event would come handy for you to present your arguments/opinions that are well informed.
  7. Follow up on what you say: Often as politicians/policymakers, there is a tendency to go by a popular opinion. With omnipresent media and civil society, it is also important to follow up on your commitments through action and during your next presentation/speech on the same issue, your reflection about the actions would give an impression to the people about your seriousness regarding the issue.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.interviewstrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/communications.jpg

Sudeep is a development communicator and he is Co-Founder and CEO at NIRC. Tweets @UpretySudeep

Procedures for the Use of Social Media by Government Agencies 2075

The Government of Nepal, specifically through Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) has come up with the Procedures for the Use of Social Media by Government Agencies 2075’ as a guiding document for government agencies to operate and manage social media accounts. Here are some of the highlights from the document based on unofficial translation by NIRC team. Operation and Management of Twitter Accounts
  • All government agencies need to open up Twitter account and bring into operation.
  • Official emails should be used for username. For eg for Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers officials, undersecretary@opmcm.gov.np).
  • For the profile picture of the handle, official logo of the agency or of the Government of Nepal needs to be used.
  • The cover image of the handle should distinctly represent the government agency.
  • The twitter bio should provide complete official information about the agency (such as full name, objectives, website address).
  • Name of the handle should appropriately represent the government agency.
  • The concerned agency needs to apply for account verification after some time of the operation of the handle.
  • Twitter should be used on a daily and regular basis.
  • All grievances and comments received should be regularly monitored; for sensitive and urgent matters, immediate appropriate action needs to be taken by concerned officials.
  • All notices and information should be posted in the Twitter handle on timely and regular basis.
  • All features – like, tweet, retweet, quote reply could be appropriately used by the officials.
  • Tweets, replies, retweets demeaning any individuals or causing negative effect upon them should be avoided.
  • While replying to any tweets, appropriate words need to be used, without expressing any anger/hatred or providing any negative comments/feedback.
  • In case of replying to any personal grievances/cases, response should be something like this: “Regarding your query/grievance, we have messaged you. Please have a look.” In order to maintain privacy, for any personal grievances/issues, the replies should not be appearing in the timeline.
  • Monthly report of all your handle activities – tweets, retweets, replies/quotes should be prepared and submitted to the head of the concerned government authority.
  • Official(s) responsible for handling twitter account need to engage with other similar government handles – following them, liking and sharing their content, informing about important updates using twitter features; creating a message group of similar handles for easy and effective communication.
  • Official(s) responsible for handling twitter account need to only follow appropriate and relevant handles that concern the agency’s work nature.
Operation and Management of Facebook Pages
  • All government agencies need to set up Facebook page and bring into operation.
  • Official emails should be used for username. For eg for Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers officials, undersecretary@opmcm.gov.np).
  • For the profile picture of the Facebook page, official logo of the agency or of the Government of Nepal needs to be used.
  • The cover image of the page should distinctly represent the government agency.
  • The page details should provide complete official information about the agency (such as full name, objectives, website address).
  • Name of the page should appropriately represent the government agency.
  • The concerned agency needs to apply for page verification after some time of the operation of the page.
  • All notices and information should be posted in the Facebook page on timely and regular basis.
  • All features – like, share, reply, message should be appropriately used by the officials.
  • Replies, mentions, shares demeaning any individuals or causing negative effect upon them should be avoided.
  • While replying to any mentions or comments, appropriate words need to be used, without expressing any anger/hatred or providing any negative comments/feedback.
  • In case of replying to any personal grievances/cases, response should be something like this: “Regarding your query/grievance, we have messaged you. Please have a look.” In order to maintain privacy, for any personal grievances/issues, the replies should not be appearing on the wall of the page.
  • Monthly report of all your page activities – tweets, retweets, replies/quotes should be prepared and submitted to the head of the concerned government authority.
  • Official(s) responsible for handling Facebook page need to engage with other similar government pages – following them, liking and sharing their content, informing about important updates using Facebook features; creating a message group of similar handles for easy and effective communication.
  • Official(s) responsible for handling Facebook page need to only follow appropriate and relevant pages that concern the agency’s work nature.
  • The queries/concerns received in the Facebook page will be addressed by the concerned ministerial grievance management committee.
Operation and Management of Viber Accounts
  • All government agencies need to set up Viber account and bring into operation.
  • To bring into operation Viber services, mobile numbers of the office of the agency needs to be used.
  • For the profile picture of the Viber account, official logo of the agency or of the Government of Nepal needs to be used.
  • The account details should provide complete official information about the agency (such as full name, objectives, website address).
  • Name of the page should appropriately represent the government agency.
  • The viber account needs to be available during office hours in each working day to make it operational for public use.
  • Appropriate responses should be provided to the queries/concerns by the public using the viber account.
  • All Viber features should be appropriately used by the officials.
  • Responses demeaning any individuals or causing negative effect upon them should be avoided.
  • While replying to any comments in the voice/video calls or messages, appropriate words need to be used, without expressing any anger/hatred or providing any negative comments/feedback.
  • In case of replying to any personal grievances/cases, response should be something like this: “Regarding your query/grievance, we have messaged you. Please have a look.” In order to maintain privacy, for any personal grievances/issues, the replies should not be appearing on the wall of the page.
  • Monthly report of all your account activities – messages and responses should be prepared and submitted to the head of the concerned government authority.
  • All contact numbers received from the Viber account needs to be saved along with the identity of the users.
  • Official(s) responsible for handling Viber account need to engage with other similar government Viber accounts – following them, liking and sharing their content, informing about important updates using Facebook features; creating a message group of similar handles for easy and effective communication.
  • Official(s) responsible for handling Viber account need to only follow appropriate and relevant pages that concern the agency’s work nature.
  • The queries/concerns received in the Viber account will be addressed by the concerned ministerial grievance management committee.
Other Provisions mentioned in the Procedures
  • Blocking/restricting users spreading hate messages against religion, caste/ethnicity or any particular group, using inappropriate language, posting obscene photos/videos – as per the decision by the social media management committee of the government agency.
  • Human resource management for social media account operation and management: In order to operate and manage social media accounts, the required human resources need to be identified and mobilised accordingly. Those professionals who are experienced in handling social media accounts and skilled in external communications and public relations need to be recruited for this responsibility.
  • The recruited professionals need to be properly oriented about their roles and responsibilities and should be provided with written Job Description for their role.
  • In case the person responsible for handling the social media account(s) is on leave, s/he needs to provide login details to other members of the account management team to continue operating the accounts in his/her absence.
  • In order to address the grievances, suggestions provided by the public users, a grievance/issue management committee needs to be developed and appropriate immediate actions need to be taken accordingly.
  • In order to make information and public services more accessible and effective to public, government of Nepal can start its own public interaction platforms other than the social media accounts.
  • Facebook Account/Page Procedures 2072 has been dismissed and will be replaced by this Social Media Use for Government Agencies Procedures 2075. All government social accounts and pages developed under the previous procedures will now be regulated through the new procedure.
  The original document in Nepali can be downloaded here:

Understanding research respondents: My bitter experience with a boater

By Sandhya Pradhan With full of excitement and energy, we headed towards the ‘heart city/lake city’ of Nepal: Pokhara. Breathtaking view of Phewa Lake and getting chance to breath in fresh air away from the pollution of Kathmandu got me more recharged. Walking down the Lakeside and mesmerizing view filled me with more encouragement to do my field survey. I headed towards the Lakeside approaching a boater but as soon as I talked to him, all my encouragement and confidence dipped. It felt something like boat sinking deeper into the lake. It was not even half a minute that I started talking to him. His reaction gave me goosebumps. In that bright sunny day his reaction made to feel like lying on the ground and counting the stars. When I approached the boater requesting him to participate for my survey, his immediate response upon my request was as such: “अरुको दु:खको बारेमा लेखेर, दुनियाँलाई देखाएर अनि हजुरहरुले नम्बर पाउनुहुन्छ । हाम्रो दु:ख किन दुनियाँलाई देखाउने?” (“You get marks by showing our misery to the world. Why should we show our misery to the entire world?”) Reflecting upon what we are currently studying in Development Communications course for our Bachelor in Development Studies (BDevS) degree, I felt that there was lack in understanding the audience on my part, thus creating a barrier to audience engagement. Perhaps be the respondent (boater) was not an interested respondent for my survey. And if there was another interested respondent, may be there would be more friendly behaviour who would be responsive to our queries?  I kept wondering about this. Since the respondent was busy in his daily routine trying to earn some money to feed his family, sparing some of his precious time to talk to me could have resulted him in losing some of the customers. Not getting a customer for him is not earning. So money could have also been an important factor for the boater’s disinterest. Knowingly or unknowingly, I applied the modernization paradigm of development communications of using my authority, power and privilege, applying top-down vertical communication approach. One of the assumptions of the modernization paradigm is the influence of audience at the technocratic level – in my case the respondent to be inquisitive, guided by faith in the scientific method and rooted in the principles of enlightenment.  My assumption clearly did not work as the respondent (boater) wasn’t interested or curious at all about what I was asking or the outcome of the survey. That day, I learnt a lot about audience engagement, demand and supply of research. About the Author Sandhya Pradhan NepalcommsWith so much to experience and so less to express, Sandhya is an enthusiast who believes in honest expression of emotions. Sandhya Pradhan is currently doing her Bachelor in Development studies from National College. She has a great volunteerism sprit and has worked as a volunteer in many organizations. She is someone who is fond of exploring new things. She is an environmental enthusiast, looking forward to work in the environment sector. Cover Photo Credit : pokharacity.com
Teen Ghumti Book Review

When gender norms are broken: Book Review of ‘Teen Ghumti’

By Shreni Rajbhandary Teen Ghumti is a novel written by B.P Koirala set during the Panchayat regime. Considered to be one of the most charismatic political leaders of Nepal, Koirala was also one of the most well-read and thoughtful writers of Nepali literature. This novel is about a girl and the three stages of her life that have been depicted through the character Indramaya. Indramaya has been portrayed as a strong courageous and resilient woman who fights for herself and makes decisions that change the way her life works. In the first phase or ghumti of the story, we are shown the general perspective of a woman in Nepali society. Our patriarchal society has many established ways in which female members are supposed to act or behave in order to be accepted; so that she can live in the society with decorum. If she does not follow these social norms, she is tormented and boycotted from the societal sphere. In the novel, Indramaya belongs to an ethnic Newar family which supported the king and his autocratic rule. She fell in love with Pitambar- a devoted Brahmin involved with a group of revolutionaries who were planning protests against the autocratic rule. Since the two were from two different worlds, her family did not agree with their love or marriage. Her father created a ‘Lakshman Rekha’ which she couldn’t cross and if she did she'd be considered as dead for her family. But for her love she defied her parents, she did not think about what the society would think about her or how they would treat her. All that she could think of was love. Thus, she parted from the society that created boundaries for her love. This was the first decision that she made which brought changes in her life. In the second phase or ghumti of the story, we are shown how women are pictured to be breadwinners only and how the male counterparts consider themselves the breadwinners of the family. Women are expected do each and every household errands with utmost diligence. Conversely, they do not have right to speak or express themselves. If they do, the males feel debased thus, are asked to remain silent. It’s always about men and their rights, always. They are not given the love, attention and affection they deserve. Their requirements are not kept in mind and after marriage. Society tends to curse  a woman when is not able to give birth to a child. She is thought to be a disgrace and has to bear the burden alone. Indramaya’s yearnings are not fulfilled by her husband until Pitambar gets arrested. Ramesh - Pitambar’s friend takes care of her. He starts living with her and soon falls in love. Though she rejects his advances initially, she eventually gives in. They are both attracted towards each other. Their relationship leads to Indira’s pregnancy. This is her second decision where she decides to ditch on her legitimate conjugal life. This is not at all acceptable, whether by the society or by her own spouse. The society thinks that she is the only and only person responsible for having a physical relationship with another man. Nobody risked giving her a shoulder. She was all-alone throughout her pregnancy. In the third phase or ghumti of the story, her husband is released from the prison, exactly when she is giving birth to her daughter (Rama). Pitambar despite living under the same roof did not melt by her innocence and did not consider Ramesh’s daughter as his own. Indramaya suffered a lot, as nothing is more important to a mother than her child. She then decides to take the third ghumti; she decides to leave her hearth along with Rama and chooses to be a mother than a wife. At 45, she is a single mother and independent. She is aware of the fact that her daughter (Rama) is in love with a guy. She unlike any other mother reacts in a bold and supportive manner and chooses to break the norm. After all that she had faced in her life, she knows that oppressing Rama’s feelings will do no good. At this age, she has a reminiscence of her old days; she has the reminiscence of the three major metamorphic decisions made. Conclusion: This novel by Koirala set during the Panchayat regime vividly depicts how a woman has turned her despairs into prosperity and bravely nurtured hope and struggle to cultivate a brighter future. It has been brilliantly written to describe the transcendent injustices in Nepali society for women and shows us the power and resilience of a woman who had every reason to give up but never did. This book has raised the conscience of many including me and has made its readers understand the many reasons of oppression of women despite covering half the sky. There’s movie based on the novel. Here’s a review of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XffthCuCi8M References: https://thehimalayantimes.com/entertainment/movie-review/uncaptivating-teen-ghumti/ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13722772-teen-ghumti https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5642582/ https://www.reddit.com/r/Nepal/comments/48lhif/teentin_ghumti_moviemorale_of_the_story/ Cover Image Source: GulmiResunga.com About the Contributor Shreni Rajbhandary The terms “Social butterfly and environmental enthusiast” best defines Shreni Rajbhandary. Shreni is doing her Bachelor in Development Studies from National College. At 20 years of age, she is an entrepreneur and the youngest serving executive board member at Youth Thinkers’ Society (YTS). Moreover, she is US Embassy Youth Council alumni. She is also a prominent speaker who has spoken in BBC thrice representing Nepal. She is also passionate about writing and is currently a contributing writer at Smart family and Shine. She has a great volunteerism spirit with volunteering experiences at 8 years and many other notable organizations.