Prime Minister in 'Common Questions'

Dec 11, 2007

Prime Minister in 'Common Questions'

As part of the UNDP ‘Participation in Peace’ project, the BBC World Service Trust brought together ordinary people from rural areas of Eastern Nepal to put questions to thePrime Minister, Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala on the state of the peace process and to express their own personal concerns about a range of governance-related issues. The Trust also organised an interview of ordinary people with the (Maoist) Chairman, Prachanda.

These two separate interviews were conducted in Biratnagar and Pokhara. The programme was recorded in front of a live audience of students, community people and civil society. It is the first time that the Prime Minister and the CPN (Maoist) Chairman have appeared in the media taking questions directly from ordinary people. For over an hour, the audience asked the questions that mattered most to them - some focused on high-level political topics such as violence in the Terai or the possibility of a military coup, while others were more personal, asking why the government had not done more to curb violence against women or to provide ambulances and roads in their home regions. Some of the questions put to the Maoist leader was why the CPN-Maoists had forced the constituent assembly elections to be postponed and why they continued to ask ordinary people for donations and a question from a young student, asking about why he allowed the YCL (Young Communist League) to force students to attend mass rallies.

The Trust launched its new radio programme ‘Sajha Sawal’ (Common Questions) on 9 November. Sajha Sawal is broadcast on the BBC Nepali Service and its network of 35 FM partner stations and a private television station (Kantipur).

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