The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) has urged the media houses to address the problems facing the working journalists. The problems like nonpayment of regular salary, forceful leave without payment and non-implementation of the Working Journalists Act are serious issues, the FNJ said in its press release.
The meeting held under the senior Vice President of FNJ and coordinator of press freedom monitoring and working journalists’ protection department, Ramesh Bista, on Monday also decided to launch pressure programs, a black listing of media, and even resorting to a legal remedy for the cause of the rights of working journalists. Similarly, a labour desk would be set up immediately at the central office of FNJ to look after the problems of journalists and launch protest programs against the media houses, which have ignored solving working journalists’ problems. As per the decision, the FNJ is all set to stage sit-in along with black flags at the gates of Image Channel, The Himalayan Times, Nagarik daily, Annapurna Post, Rajdhani daily, Radio Sagarmatha, News-24, and others.
The meeting concluded that the grant media houses were receiving at the initiative of FNJ has also not been utilized. “It is unacceptable to take grants from the government but curtail the payment and incentives to the journalists. The government and Finance Ministry are urged to conduct monitoring of the use of grant at media,” stated a press release issued by the FNJ following the meeting. Different reports have stated that the COVID-19 pandemic became an excuse especially for the private media to mete out injustice to the working journalists- no and low payment, expulsion from the job, curtailment of media outlets, etc. However, the small media have time and again complained that they were hit hard by COVID-19 which badly dented their financial sustainability.