Role of Press Union in highlighging working
Organised by Nepal Press Union (NPU)
1 May 2012, Kathmandu
By Chandra Shekhar Adhikari
Nepal Press Union along with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung,
Nepal Office had organised a workshop on the 'Role of Press Union
in Highlighting Working Journalists' issues' in Kathmandu on 1st
May, 2012. There were more than Seven dozens 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 working journalists
with leaders of political parties. 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
The chief guest of this programme was
Dr. Ramsharan Mahat, Former Minister and Central Committee member
of Nepali Congress Party. UML leader and former minister Pradeep
Gyawali, and Maoist Leader Narayan Sharma were also the guests
of this programme. The Programme was chaired by Kiran Kumar
Pokhrel - President of Nepal Press Union (NPU). Dev Raj Dahal,
Head FES Nepal Office, Tara Nath Dahal -Freedom Forum, Dharmendra
Jha -Former President of Federation of Nepalese Journalists
(FNJ), Bishnu Nisthuri -former President of FNJ, Shovakar Parajuli,leader
of Nepali congress, Kulchandra Wagle former President of NPU
and Samir Jung Shah former President of NPU also raised their
voice on media issues in the Programme.
Speaking in the programme, Nepali Congress
leader Dr. Mahat said that press union played a crucial role
during the people's movement of 2006 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 hurdle
for the current political deadlock in the country. The fact
is that they wanted to retain their combatants even after the
Constitutional process is completed and this intention of theirs
is to linked with prolonging political process in the country.
He also said that without peace, any constitution will not function
properly. "To make new constitution, we don't have much
time so that we would be more dedicated to complete the task
within extended period. Without peace we can't do anything for
the nation. Therefore, Nepal Press Union and all other democratic
institution should always be ready to coordinate for the peace."
Journalists ought to be responsible on their profession.
He further said that Nepali Congress
is committed for the development of Trade Union movement in
the country. Nepali journalists are not secured in the nation.
And, the state has not shown its own responsibility in this
important sector. He commented on media too. According to him,
Media has not produced qualitative programme and news too. In
the name of giving scoop and fast news, media house don't go
on deep source. For the reason, they fail on giving proper news
on right time. And, they give more emphasis on covering political
news only. It has made the public monotonous on watching news
channels, radios and newspapers. In this sense, media house
should be aware of improving themselves.
Dev Raj Dahal - Head of FES Nepal in
his inaugural speech said that media should pin point and knock
responsibility of the state. The main task of the journalists
is to set the voice of voiceless people and also to secure themselves.
He also said that solidarity and peace are the major elements
to develop the nation. Mass media-television, press, radio and
internet-are effective medium of communication between the political
system and the people. Both media and trade unions constitute
a part of larger civil society endowed with ideal to protect
public interest. Both help to mediate opposing interests of
society to establish golden means of politics. The general functions
of trade unions worldwide are: defending their employee rights
and jobs; securing improvements in their working conditions,
including working hours and health safety at work; improving
their pay and other benefits, including holiday entitlements;
encouraging firms to increase worker participation in decision-making;
improving sick pay, pensions and industrial injury benefits;
and developing and protecting the skills of union members enabling
them to compete in the changing nature of economy.
UML leader Pradip Gyawali said that
Nepali media is in crucial situation at the moment. He also
said that journalists are not safe in the country. When journalists
are no safe, it also poses serious security threat to people
at large. Responsibility of media and its working area are is
squeezing day by day. Press freedom has become only the slogan
but not practicable in day to day life.
Maoist leader, Narayan Sharma said Nepali
media is facing number of problems during these days. According
to him media people are motivated and guided by political parties.
The major weakness of the media house is that it works for political
parties rather than working for braoder society. Media houses
are misused by foreign countries as well argued Sharma. That's
the reason, among others, political parties should be responsible
and accountable for it. And, on the other hand, media house
should not play the role of business house, rather it should
work for the sake of Nepali people.
Taranath Dahal, former president of
FNJ presented on the problems of Nepali Media and role of NPU.
Likewise, Dharmendra Jha presented a paper in the programme
on challenging of working journalists.
Dahal, currently President of Freedom
Forum, objected the current development trend that has been
witnessed in the media sector. He categorized Nepalese press
into three different columns who defend interests of the different
groups:. the traditionally oriented media, politically oriented
media and commercially oriented media. And this sort of media
orientation has posed serious threat for the development of
"autonomous" press in the country, argued Dahal. He
further said that the free media in the country is free only
for few who enjoy it as their prerogative rights. By and large,
media has not promoted pluralistic culture in the country. There
are more than 50000 persons directly employed in this industry.
In addition to this, there are self-employed in media, there
are editor publishers and one man media (the online) shows and
we need to organised them for the betterment of society. He
vociferously said that Press Union should highlight the issues
of workers as we represent the same class and this has been
not taken up so seriously for the last few years. He also said
that press union also needs to be extended with all other workers
who are in working in media house. He said that the union has
become stronger now after the involvement of all those people.
Dahal while presenting his paper said
that Nepali media has emerged over the time as the main source
of the information and knowledge about the contemporary affairs
and state of the country and those of the world for Nepal's
of myriad walks of life. A large number of instances suggest
that their decisions and behavior appear directly or indirectly
influenced by media. The current Nepali landscape of the media
is quite interesting, radio informing the country in a localized
version, news papers educating people about events, ideas and
policies at the district, regional, national and international
TV serving as fast abstracts of current time's trends and online
offering menu of the thoughts of the digital elites.
Dharmendra Jha said that the state has
to sincerely implement Right to Information Act 2007 and Working
Journalists Act 2007 as well as provide labor market information.
In this process, the Nepalese media have to provide civic awareness
to workers about changing nature of economy, equip them with
participatory information and resources, stimulate active public
engagement and foster meaningful dialogue and ownership of workers
in the agenda-setting regarding their rights, laws, social security
provisions and the dignity of work. 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. 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. Media should, therefore, stress on the formation of
a common ground so that democracy can release the possibility
for social, economic and political integration of Nepalese workers
and contribute to strengthening national integrity system to
control corruption and resolve various types of conflicts in
Bishnu Nisthuri former president of
NFJ, Samir Jung Shah - outgoing President of the Press Union
said that state capacity must be strengthened to ensure rights
of the people. NPU president Pokharel said that journalists
are mirror of the society so that they are always more responsible.
Nevertheless, the government should have the positive role for
the media development. He further thanked all the participants
and inaugural session comes to an end.
Samir Jung Shah while making remarks
on both the speakers said 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. Hemanta Kafle, vice president of NPU
also added 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. Jiwan Bhandari
also commented on how to stop the investment of criminals in
media sector giving the example of chair person of National
Television. It has invited unnecessary cut-throat competition
to grab the advertisement in the media industry.
Gagan Bista, president of Press Chautari
and some other journalist's also highlighted on the current
situation of press. They are focused on government role in press
sector always aggressive. Anil Giri from The Kathmandu Post
said that Nepal's daily paper developed from the weekly paper
and they still carry the same culture in reporting as well.
Chandra Shekhar Adhikari, Press Union
central committee member and diplomatic correspondent of Annapurna
Post Daily said that we should find out the way in for working
journalist so that they can truly work for the society as well
as maintain their dignified life.
They all focused on less representation
of Trade Union in policy making sector. They pointed out leadership
problem in the trade union another issue that needs to be sorted
out in coming days. As same people have been leading the TUs
for a long time, that is, the process of inter-generational
justice has been blocked and there is no internal democracy
in the TUs like the political parties. He also cautioned that
Trade Union movement is not only about opposing "employers"
but also about creating an environment of the fresh investment
in the country.
From the floor, Rebati Sapkota from
the Annapurna post daily commented that Nepali trade union movement
is much loyal towards management of the media not with people
working in the media houses.
Arjun Bhandari, Journalist from The
Himalayan Times said that the management of the media houses
has become more powerful than the unity of the journalists so
that whenever they raise their problems within the media houses,
they would be sidelined and ignored. He further added that there
is a lack of professional journalists in the media leadership
and this has to change for the better.
The event oriented and guided journalist
is not going to address the issues of actual present situations
of journalists and Trade Union Issues. Head of the FES highlighted
about the trade union issues categorically. The participants
of the program agreed on the statement given by the FES Head.
Media can play an important role to make democracy for everybody
by reaching even passive and isolated workers for collective
The ultimate goal of this is program
is to focus on the issue of trade union. The process of being
professional journalist in the context of Nepal is growing up
gradually. However, the journalists are not still presented
as social mirror of the society.