Chitwan, May 4th 2016 : The central general meeting of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) – an umbrella organization of journalists across the country – concluded without tabling of its statute amendment proposal.
The jamboree concluded last night adopting 11-point ‘Chitwan Declaration’ with full commitment to the protection of freedom of press and of expression, fundamental rights and rights and welfare of working journalists.
With the sloganeering of journalists associated to Nepal Press Union – a trade union organization of democrat media workers – against the unilateral preparation of FNJ to present amendment proposal, the general meeting ended without anything in concrete to that effect.
NPU had demanded the proposed statute to be made available to them for study a month before it is tabled in the general meeting for discussion.
However, the Press Chautari Nepal (PCN) had also chanted slogans demanding the amendment proposal be tabled and endorsed on the occasion.
The sloganeering from both sides came to an end when the Presidium entrusted to conduct closed-door session of the meeting pledged to endorse the statute unanimously after consultations.
Speaking on the occasion, NPU President Badri Sigdel demanded the formation of a committee to amend FNJ statute. Likewise, PCN Chair Rajendra Aryal stressed the need of timely amendment to the statute.
Similarly, Revolutionary Journalists Association Chair Govinda Acharya asked FNJ Chair Dr Mahendra Bista to clarify the rationale behind the amendment proposal.
Following strong criticism and protest, the House has formed a high-level committee for the statute amendment. The committee comprises FNJ former chairs Dharmendra Jha, Shiva Gaunle and Dr Suresh Acharya, former general secretary Om Sharma, incumbent chair Dr Bista, general secretary Ujir Magar and journalist Nirmala Sharma.
Cutting short the two-day programme, the general meeting of FNJ concluded adopting 11-point Chitwan declaration.
The general assembly decided to immediately review and increase minimum wage of working journalist to Rs 19,500 as per the recommendation of the Minimum Wage Determination Committee.
The FNJ has demanded the Government of Nepal to implement the decision on minimum wage of journalists at the earliest.
Expressing serious concern over the government’s dillydally on the enforcement of minimum wage of working journalists, the house also announced to launch strong struggle if it was not implemented with priority.
The FNJ has also urged the government and political parties to effectively implement the national charter and also advance dialogue and consultation so as to address genuine demands put forth by all dissenting communities including Terai Madhes regarding the constitutional provisions.
The declaration has also called for the government to make journalist health insurance package further effective. It has also drawn government’s attention towards delay on the formation of the Mass Communication Training Academy.
The House also demanded with the government to effectively distribute proportional advertisement to protect newspaper with small investment, waive tax on paper and ink and establish a ‘Small Investment Media Development Fund’ for the conduction of training.
Demanding the communication service be recognized as service industry, the FNJ has stressed that the full implementation of Working Journalists Act should be the pre-condition for the media house receiving service of special industry.
The assembly has pledged to formulate special plans upholding declaration of ‘Madhes Media Conference-2072’ which took stock the situation resulted from the Terai unrest.
Likewise, the general meeting also demanded to provide regular electricity service along with special discount on royalty and renewal fee of radio and TV.