RMRCs – Decentralizing and diversifying media opportunities
In order to promote indigenous and community media in the districts by facilitating access to modern technologies and skills, Nepal Press Institute founded two Regional Media Resource Centers (RMRCs) in Biratnagar and Nepalgunj in 1995. These are permanent centers located in the eastern and western parts of the country, respectively, which continue to support capacity building of rural media in those areas. The Institute also operated another RMRC in Butwal from 2003 to 2010 to support NPI Kathmandu’s media capacity building programs in the central part of the country.
These centers once formed important components of the Danish Media Support Project.
The RMRCs function as important outposts of NPI in the delivery of media training and skill development services over a wide area, covering several remote districts. They work in cooperation with local media personnel and organization, including the local chapters of Nepal’s biggest media umbrella — Federation of Nepalese Journalists.
In addition to implementing national programs, the RMRCs operate several activities independent of NPI Kathmandu. The programs are of local nature and include: periodic ‘meet the press’ events on important social issues, basic journalism courses, production and distribution of feature stories for local media, advocacy and lobbying on social development issues, and other partnership projects related to media.
Over the years, the RMRCs have enabled the rejuvenation of independent and indigenous media outside the capital city.
It also helped to correct the imbalance apparent in the distribution of media resources in the urban and rural areas and the over–concentration of facilities in few urban centers of the country.
The initiatives have helped to promote people’s access to information and have strengthened the process of democratization and human rights in the districts.
Building on RMRC support, a number of publishing companies came into existence in various districts of the country, making it possible for the public information to reach the doorsteps of the people at the grassroots level. The inputs also facilitated the adoption of new technologies by publishing houses – a phenomenon hitherto limited to Kathmandu valley only.
Besides, the large-scale training inputs created a host of qualified reporters and journalists who promoted the flow of news between the capital-based mainstream newspapers and the outside districts.
The trainees of RMRCs in the districts have now grown into successful leaders in their media careers.
A summary of the activities run by RMRCs:
1. Media training (Basic, advanced and specialized)
2. Journalism orientations on different social issues
3. Workshop, symposium, and seminars on different issues related to media and social sustainability
4. Meet the press events on contemporary social issues
5. Media supportive programs: Fellowships, scholarships, field-based reporting, team reporting, and other facilities.
6. Publication: Feature bulletins, books, media reports.