|Home > News||27 February 2007|
Nepal’s premier TV magazine Aankhijhyal is 500
The landmark edition was broadcast on 27 February 2007. In this special programme, its producers, the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ), looked back at the interesting and challenging times they have chronicled and investigated.
The half-hour programme has been produced regularly since May 1994. Now in its 13th year, it is one of developing Asia’s longest running television shows on sustainable development.
“Since its inception in 1993, we have come a long way and Aankhijhyal has managed to create awareness among the Nepalis on the issues related to environment and development,” says Rabindra Pandey, head of Audio-Visual at NEFEJ. “Aankhijhyal still remains one of the most popular video magazines on Nepal Television.”
Initially a fortnightly, the programme’s consistently high ratings and public appeal prompted the broadcaster, Nepali Television, to allocate a weekly slot in 1999.
Aankhijhyal is the centrepiece of NEFEJ’s Audio Visual Unit, and has been widely acclaimed for its investigative approach to sustainable development and social justice issues.
From land reform and agrochemical misuse to the conservation of heritage sites, and from the trafficking of women and children to HIV, Aankhijhyal has been covering a broad range of issues, concerns and controversies in the public interest. While remaining apolitical, the programme has also reflected the human, social and environmental costs of Nepal’s violent insurgency and pro-democracy struggle in recent years.
“Our programme takes a dispassionate view on issues,” says Pandey, who has been a producer of the programme for much of its existence. “Our job is to gather all relevant information and present it in a way that our viewers can understand and relate to. We let our viewers decide.”
The programme’s ability to showcase development and social issues on prime time television has inspired much discussion and debate. When Aankhijhyal picked up and stayed with important rural stories, they soon became national concerns, prompting government officials or politicians to act.
The magazine relies on a network of roving reporters and producers who criss-cross the Himalayan kingdom, in search of interesting stories. These stories depict how Nepal’s 23 million people cope with survival and subsistence needs even as the nation struggles to achieve minimum living standards for people without further degrading the environment.
TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP) has collaborated with NEFEJ on Aankhijhyal for a decade. It has provided a large number of copyrights-cleared regional and international development films. On several occasions, TVEAP has also arranged for grants and training support for the production team.
Aankhijhyal was the main broadcast outlet for a series of international films on sustainabletechnologies that were versioned into Nepali under TVEAP’s 4-country, Toyota-funded Hands On in Asia project (2004-2005).
“We would not have been possible to continue our production of the video magazine without your support” says Rabindra Pandey in a message sent to TVEAP this month.
“We are very grateful for all the support you have been providing us... And we hope to receive similar support in the days ahead as well.”
“TVEAP offers its congratulations to NEFEJ and Aankhijhyal on this happy occasion,” says Nalaka Gunawardene, TVEAP’s Director and CEO. “It is a privilege to have been associated with this path-breaking journalistic enterprise for communicating development.”
Gunawardene adds: “Aankhijhyal’s passing 500 editions is all the more significant because it has been sustained without a break by this non-profit cooperative of journalists. Whether or not external funding was available, NEFEJ has continued producing the programme – often using its own savings from other, better-funded projects.”
NEFEJ leads the way among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Nepal in promoting and raising public awareness through multimedia on issues relating to, sustainable development and social justice.
Since its inception in 1986, NEFEJ – popularly known as 'the Forum' – has worked diligently through print, advocacy, television, and radio to achieve its main objective: to bring environmental and developmental information to the masses, which in turn will raise awareness, promote understanding, deliver justice and equity, and encourage conservation on both a local and national level.