The Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) was established on 1 June 1986. It was later registered as the Nepal Forum of Environmental Communicators (NEFC), a private company, because the laws of the day did not allow individuals to organize freely and, therefore, it was not possible to seek registration as a journalists’ organization. However, since it needed a proper bank account to operate, it decided to register as NEFC at the Department of Industry. It was formally registered as NEFEJ on 23 August 1990 (after Nepal became a democracy in April 1990).
Throughout its 25-year existence NEFEJ has served its membership and Nepali society as a forum to debate, report, and influence public policy for sustainable development. NEFEJ’s membership has included both journalists and experts in different natural sciences who share the common objective of advocating for environmental protection and sustainable development.
In 2011 NEFEJ’s general membership comprised of journalists representing the entire media industry – print and broadcasting – and included reporters and editors of newspapers, camera and sound technicians and video editors, and radio and television reporters and producers. The associate membership included academics, scientists and experts in different areas of the natural sciences, subject specialists and those with interests related to conservation in one way or another. The membership of NEFEJ in May 2011 was 118. It is the strength of this membership that has enabled NEFEJ to complete 25 years of successful activism for environment and development. It is also the strength that encourages it continue its work for many more decades.
NEFEJ’s overall goals have been raising public awareness on sustainable development, and lobbing and advocacy for environment-friendly public policies. The priorities have changed with the needs of the changing times but the overall goals continue to guide its functions. Initially, the focus was on awareness building because those were the days when “development was good” everything else did not matter. Next came the period when NEFEJ combined its awareness building activities with lobbying and advocacy for sound public policies through public debates, hearings and the use of different media platforms. The early initiatives for advocacy through the mass media have been institutionalized and NEFEJ continues to play a leading role as an advocate for sustainable, environment-friendly development. Since the early 2000s NEFEJ has been working to spread awareness on the need for actions that can help slow down the pace of climate change.
NEFEJ’s past activities have included producing content for the print media, building environmental awareness through specialized publications and supporting new NGOs to initiate local level conservation efforts. NEFEJ’s priorities have now shifted to content production for radio and television, while it also continues to organize debates and interactions on public policy. The forum runs Radio Sagaarmatha, Nepal’s first independent FM radio, supports community radios in their establishment and programming and also produces a weekly magazine for broadcast on different television channels, in addition to producing documentaries for international audiences. NEFEJ now plans to focus all of these activities to tackle the major threat facing humankind: Climate change.
June 1, 1986
The national conference was held in Kathmandu and a constitution and programs formally adopted. An executive committee was also formed.
A report on the coverage of environment in the domestic media between September 1986 and February 1987 was prepared and distributed for the first time.
January 23, 1988
The Asian Forum of Environmental Journalists (AFEJ) was formally constituted in Bangkok, Thailand. Aditya Man Shrestha, then Secretary General of NEFEJ was elected President of AFEJ.
The forum obtained membership of IUCN and attended General Assembly meeting in Perth, Australia.
The General Body meeting of the Asia-Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (APFEJ) was held.
Aankhijhyal, a television program was launched on Nepal Television.
Environment Award of the National Planning Commission was conferred on NEFEJ with a cash prize of Rs. 40,000.
Video Resource Center of the Television Trust for Environment (TVE) was established in NEFEJ.
Street protest against the ‘export’ of rhinos to London Zoo.
May 22 1997
Radio Sagarmatha went on air with grant of a license on May 18.
A website www.nefej.org.np was launched.
A new magazine Hakahaki was published.
Community Radio Support Center (CRSC) was established.
A trust fund was established to help the community radio movement. Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (ACORAB) was established. NEFEJ becomes the focal point for Nepal and the Rio + 10 Earth Summit.
Nepal Network for Sustainable Development (NNSD) was established.
Multi-media support to Nepal Development Forum held in Kathmandu in February 2002.
NEFEJ joins Bagmati Cleaning Campaign. 17 September 2002: His Royal Highness Crown Prince Paras Bir Bokram Shah visited NEFEJ office in Thapathali.
The armed conflict showed visible impact on the environment in different parts of Nepal.
An exchange program between NEFEJ and FIVH, a Norwegian environmental NGO, starts.
July 2003: The AGB meeting rejected the proposal to bid for the public relations contract of the Melamchi drinking water project.
NEFEJ buys a plot of land for permanent building in Bhanimandal, Lalitpur. Dr. Mohan Man Sainju and Dr. Chandra Gurung are awarded “Knight, First Class, the Order of the Lion of Finland” for their contribution to ESF project. NEFEJ is involved in advocating, lobbying, and monitoring the Millennium Development Goals. NEFEJ launches peace mission by producing several audio and video PSA.