Media and peace in Asia

(Photo : Bikas)

AJA Nepal’s Lumbini Conference empowering journalists

The “Lumbini International Conference on Media and Peace” organized by the Asia Journalist Association(AJA) Nepal Chapter concluded on March 8, 2014 by issuing a 12-point Lumbini Declaration. AJA reaffirmed in the declaration its commitment for press freedom, media rights, safety and better work conditions for journalists and citizens’ right to information as the fundamental rights for peace and development.

“The AJA believes it is essential to continue discussion on the Asian perspective of journalism to ensure media’s better role for peace and development in the Asian societies that are culturally diverse and contextually different,” the declaration said. “The AJA notes that journalism is a challenging profession in Asia; and calls upon all journalists and media to respect social norms, ethical standards and values of humanity for peace building amidst conflicts.”

Vice President of AJA Norila Daud (left), Bishnu Nisthuri (right) and President of AJA Ivan Lim (Photo : Bikas)

The conference, organized under the aegis of AJA-Nepal, brought together journalists from Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan and Bhutan, including AJA President Ivan Lim, and Vice Presidents Bishnu Nisthuri and Norila Daud to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Stating AJA’s observation that incidents of violence against journalists in Nepal, as well as in Asia, were alarming; it urged all state and non-state parties to stop violence against journalists and the media.

“Take up the issues we mentioned here and take a stance to end violence,” Ivan Lim, President of AJA said during his address at the concluding ceremony. He said ideas and peace should go together, but achieving peace is difficult, adding that AJA is paying attention to become active and move with actions for peace and dignity.

AJA Vice President Norila Daud and Vice President of the Lumbini Development Trust Acharya Karma Syangbo Sherpa also expressed their views in the concluding ceremony while AJA Nepal’s General Secretary Bishnu Gautam expressed his gratitude in that the conference could bring Asian journalists together in Lumbini.

Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal addressing the opening of the Lumbini International Conference on Media and Peace, March 7, 2014, in Lumbini, Nepal (Photo : Bikas)

The conference was inaugurated by the Minister of Information and Communications of Nepal Dr. Minendra Rijal on March 7. Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Minister Dr. Rijal said that the government was committed to press freedom and the security of journalists. “It is the duty of all journalists to disseminate the right information about Lumbini and Lord Buddha and importance of peace for humankind around the world,” he said. Prime Minister of Nepal Sushil Koirala also sent a message wishing for the success of the conference.

Addressing the same function, former minister and Nepali Congress leader Deep Kumar Upadhyay said that the world was yet to be informed that four other Buddhas were born in Lumbini. He said the present conference would be helpful in promoting and preserving Lumbini and other places including Kapilvastu, linked with life of the Buddha.

AJA Vice President and AJA Nepal President Bishnu Nisthuri highlighted the reasons for holding the conference in Lumbini. “We want to provide firsthand information to the journalists by bringing them to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha,” he said. The participants shared experiences of their respective countries, enjoyed a documentary on Lumbini produced by Chetan Panta, a Nepali journalist, and visited Lumbini and other sites related to the life of the Buddha.

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