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Digital media drive Nepal election

Mobile, web and social media played a key role in Nepal’s general election on 19 November. Most of the parties and candidates used digital technology to spread their message and many voters went online to discuss political issues and share information.

The Ujyaalo 90 Network election platform http://election.ujyaaloonline.com/np/ was one of the leading online platforms for sharing political news, comments and questions. The site received more than 100 comments, news tips and queries from people in Nepal and abroad each day in the run-up to the election. Ujyaalo also ran an English-language site http://election.ujyaaloonline.com/ specially targeted at organizations and people interested in Nepal or who work on election issues around the world.

Comments posted on the website were also broadcast on the radio network, which links about 100 local stations across the country, many in remote areas. The Nepali-language site peaked at more than 100,000 unique users per day.

The success of Ujyaalo’s online media coverage is largely due to its strategy of building its regular audience through social media, particularly among the diaspora. It now has more than 200,000 Facebook followers.

Election turn-out was more than 70%, in part due to radio’s influence on rural voters. The centrist Nepali Congress party won most votes, while the Maoists – who formed the single largest party in the previous Constituent Assembly – slipped to third place. The election was largely peaceful.

Communications Corner, founder of Ujyaalo 90 Network, is an MDIF client.

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