|Role of Press
Union in Highlighting Working Journalists' Issues'
A national seminar jointly organized by
Nepal Press Union (NPU) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
10 June 2012, Hetauda
By Chandra Shekhar Adhikari
Annapurna Post Daily
Nepal Press Union (NPU) along with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung,
Nepal Office has organised a workshop on the 'Role of Press Union
in Highlighting Working Journalists' Issues' in Hetauda on 10
June, 2012. There were about a hundred of participants, mostly
the journalists from mainstream and vernacular media representing
newspapers, Television and radios. We all discussed on the issue
of journalists more than five hours continuously. The main objective
of the program was to share the problem of journalists in district
level who are always facing the financial crunch. We continued
the discussion till the end of the session with the enthusiasm
of all participants and political leaders. Ultimately, all of
them spent their full time in the program with their patience
and curiosity on the burning issue.
The chief guest of this programme was
Gagan Thapa, Young Leader, Central Committee member of Nepali
Congress Party. Deena Upadhyaya, NC central committee member,
The Programme was chaired by Ram Mani Neupane, Zone coordinator
of NPU, Kiran Kumar Pokhrel President of Nepal Press Union (NPU).
Dev Raj Dahal, Head FES Nepal Office, Kashiraj Dahal, constitution
expert, Dharmendra Jha -Former President of Federation of Nepalese
Journalists (FNJ), Shiva Lamshal General Secretary of NPU, Ishwari
Ojha Treasurer of NPU also raised their voice on media issues
in the Programme.
Speaking in the programme, Nepali Congress
leader Thapa said that press union played a crucial role since
the beginning and requested that it should now work towards
the formation of inclusive politics that upholds norms of social
justice. He also commented on the current political situation
and said that Maoists have come as a major obstacle for the
current political impasse in the country. No free media in the
absence of democracy, however, media should do lobby for democracy.
The present government of Nepal is almost spoilt in the sense
of democracy. Democracy is a process it should go on forever.
He also emphasized that the measurement of the democracy should
be done my mass media. Media should not be biased and it should
not be affiliated to any political parties. It is seen in the
present situation that some of the media houses are indirectly
invested by some big political parties. Nevertheless, it should
not be in the reality. The number of unions like Press Union
should raise voice against in such activities.
The investors of number of media houses
are getting profit day by day; however, on the other hand the
media workers have the feelings of two months in a year. They
are getting their wedges twice in a year in an installment.
The investors invest money in several other business what they
get profit from the media houses but they do not have the feeling
of providing the salary of the workers on time. He also focused
that, not only in the media house, but in every sector, such
situation can be created if there is no state actor, rather
there are more agents. Behind all these, the role of political
parties is a must. Media houses should not show their investments
to the state with the direct influence of major political parties
to the media houses. He shred his own experience in the program
that he used to work in a media house without getting salary
on time. Nonetheless, he always raised his voice against such
Another guest of the program, Deena
Upadhya, central committee member of Nepali Congress, also focused
on the situation of media house. In the situation of lobbying
media houses by some political parties, the role of them should
be important to make the media house unbiased. The role of media
workers is not only the jobholders, but are also the mirror
of the society. For that reason, they should not be behaved
like a mechine, but must be treated as a human being. And, they
should have chance to live their life in the society in a reputed
way while getting their wedges on time. According to her, the
role of media house is also vital to the state. The part of
strikes and protests on the road on unnecessary demands of different
political parties should not get proper place in the media house.
It is all because of unhealthy competition within the media
house. Such trend should be ignored. She further added that,
the program organized by Press Union in some districts is admirable.
It has challenged to other Unions/organizations giving importance
only to Kathmandu Valley.
Constitution Expert, Kashi Raj Dahal
had also almost the same voice like previous speakers in the
program. Right to information can be implemented only in democracy.
The situation of the country or its destination can be determined
only with the discussions in democracy. He also said that the
condition of right to information is also in challenge. The
reason behind these is not implementing democracy properly.
Improvement of weakness of Loktantra has no alternative. Democracy
should run in law and order. The bad concept of political parties
of taking themselves in upper level than law and order has made
the situation pathetic in the present time.
FES Director, Dev Raj Dahal started
his speech saying that democracy is possible if there is social
justice in the society. FES has been working in social justice,
peace and democracy since its establishment. With the cooperation
of unions like NPU, FES has been working for democracy, right
to information and trade unionism. Nepal is 8 years oldest country
than United States. US is the topmost country in the world,
however, Nepal is still struggling for the establishment of
development. We could not stick on law and order so that we
always have to see back. The country can be guided by major
4 elements, stick on punishment by the state sincerity of the
people, rights of tax by the state and utilization of international
norms and values. We are heading towards failure state in the
absence of those 4 elements. The policy, rule, regulation and
systems are directed by foreigners. The reason of failure leading
policy of Nepali political leaders, we are facing the present
situation. The above mentioned 4 elements have no balance at
all in Nepal. Only the role of media houses can balance these
4 elements. I believe, such seminars can focus on these issues
Dharmendra Jha, former president of
FNJ said that press freedom is possible only in democracy. This
concept should be in the mind of all journalists. This issue
has become the major discussions within journalists, knowingly
and unknowingly. In the present situation, this issue is important
too. Maulik rights and democracy have been directly hit from
the side of state and political parties in the present situation.
Censorship by the present government in the media house picturizes
very clearly about the bad intention of the government. Recently,
the present government sent a letter to Image Channel for the
censorship of news. That's the main reason to be united by the
journalists like us who believe in democracy. And, we have to
fight against such system. Modern nationalism is a constitutional
nationalism. Only the democratic journalists can go through
constitutional nationalism. Media house must be independent
and it should not be guided by any other forces. However, the
media house might pay an advance payment to open the media house
according to the new system of the present government. Jha further
added that media house is not for the business, rather for it
resembles the society. Though, the intention of media house
is to work as a mediator in the society, it can't provide the
workers without their wedges on time. Nepal Press Union a strong
union which can raise voice against these issues. Requesting
to all journalists, Jha added a point that, journalism is not
the job rather the journalists should have the habit of reading
and get more information on different issues in the society.
As Jha added more, the state has to
sincerely implement Working Journalists Act 2007 and Right to
Information Act 2007. And, the state must be responsible to
provide labor market information to the journalists. Familiarization
of workers with various ideas and issues provides them a greater
measure of free will and self-confidence and enable them to
use their own political choice that should not be reflected
while writing. Democratic politics is not only about the self-
assertion of politicians for power but about seeking a common
good where workers are not excluded. Democracy seeks to maximize
the greatest happiness of greatest number of society's members.
Therefore, to address the issues of media workers, there is
the necessity of umbrella organization of Trade unions which
is not done yet by NFJ and NPU both.
Babita Basnet senior women Journalist
agreed upon the paper presented by Jha. According to her, journalists
must be strengthened to ensure rights of the people. She remarked
that the trade union is highly politicized, party-oriented and
media is action oriented as a result the genuine issues of workers
are always sidelined. Workers have been merely used and abused
by the trade union leaders and leaders of the political parties.
Shiva Lamsal, General Secretary of NPU
also pointed out that economic activities in the country are
shrinking and there has been too much focus on politics over
the years. As a result the state has failed to create new jobs.
In this situation, democratic journalists should cooperate with
democratic leaders. He raised this issue in the sense that without
democracy, journalism can not be completed.
From the floor discussion, Rajan Dahal,
journalist, Radio Makwanpur put a different issue in the program.
He mentioned that the journalists do not have such umbrella
organizations to address the journalists' real issues. He has
requested to all the journalists to rethink about on this issue.
Local journalists, Mani Raj Gautam focused his view especially
towards media house. The number of media houses is not able
to pay the payment to the media workers on time in the present
scenario. His opinion was based on this issue. The nature of
hire and fire situation within media house, itself is not good
to the media workers. The owner of the media houses are getting
profit day by day, however , on the other hand, they do not
have enough money to pay to the media workers, this is a bitter
reality of most of the media houses, he further added.
Local correspondent, Girija Adhikari,
Rabindra Singh, Anil Tiwari and many others also highlighted
the issue of working journalists. Providing the contract written
of minimum wedges to the media workers, rather the reality is
different. The workers are compelled to work in very low salary
though they are committed by the media house to provide more
than 10,000.00 per month. Nevertheless, they agreed upon the
reality that the main reason behind such situation is the role
of media workers themselves. On the other hand, all of them
less focused on the issue of Trade Union in policy making sector.
They pointed out leadership problem in the trade union that
is another issue, needs to be sorted out in coming days. There
should be intellectual people in the leadership level rather
not only the representative of workers, who continuously lead
the trade union for a long time.
Chandra Shekhar Adhikari, journalist
of Annapurna Post Daily has also agreed upon the issues raised
by all the participants. He opines his view in this way that,
the journalists should be strong enough to make their value
in the market by themselves. They must have the capacity to
understand the issues so that they can present the news properly
in the society. There are still very few journalists in our
country who are well known in the society. Media people have
a problem ownself we all are loyal or biose. That impact to
our reporting so we have to improve our quality also.
NPU president Kiran Pokharel said that
journalists are mirror of the society so that they are always
more responsible. Nevertheless, the issues raised in the program
should be addressed and implemented in our real life. And, the
government should have the positive role for the media development.
He further thanked all the participants and inaugural session
comes to an end.
Ram Mani Dahal, coordinator of Narayani
Zone, NPU concluded the program. Five hours continued discussions
about all issues of media workers with the political parties'
leaders have been fruitful. He hoped that the isssues raised
in the whole program can be judged by all the journalists.
The present situation of the media houses
have been seen biased in different political parties. This is
a fearful matter in itself, because the media house should be
loyal to the public. Politically guided journalists can not
be the real mirror of the society and they can not address the
issues properly. Somehow, the issues of media house are linked
with trade union too. Media should have capacity to highlight
the issues trade unions. Media can play an important role to
make democracy for everybody by reaching to even the passive
and isolated workers and peasants. And, it can also energize
them to participate on the production of collective welfare.
The ultimate goal of this is program is to focus on the issue
of trade union. The process of being professional in the journalism
field in the context of Nepal is growing up gradually. However,
some of the journalists are not still presented as social mirror
in the society. The reason behind this is also the weakness
of journalists and trade union, itself. This issue should be
highlighted and prioritized in future.