Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal has said that the wage of working journalists would be reviewed within few days on the basis of a report submitted by the Minimum Wage Fixation Committee.
In today’s meeting of the International Relations and Labor Committee under the Legislature Parliament, Minister Rijal said that the government was committed to ensure minimum wages to journalists.
The Minimum Wage Fixation Committee in the report submitted to government on July 5 has suggested the Ministry to determine Rs 19,500 as the minimum wage of working journalists.
He said, “I have heard that some of journalists of the Nepali media receive up to Rs 300,000 salary but then the situation of some journalists not even getting at least Rs 10,000 should be ended.”
Similarly, lawmakers said that the state should take initiatives for the guarantee of required minimum wages to journalists.
They also demanded action against those media houses, which do not provide minimum wages.
Stating that it was unfortunate not to fully implement the Working Journalists Act at government-owned media houses, the lawmakers drew the attention for the implementation of the Act at all the government media houses immediately.
Lawmaker Pemba Lama expressed that journalists should get wages as per their labor while another lawmaker Binod Shrestha suggested scrapping the license of those media houses which do not provide services and facilities to journalists as per the Working Journalists Act.
Likewise, Rajan Bhattarai stressed the need of ending the current situation of launching agitation by journalists for the salary.
It was crime against humanity to involve in work without giving money for the work, said another lawmaker Radha Timilsina.
On the occasion, President of the Federation of Nepali Journalists, Mahendra Bista, who was there as an invitee member, presented the data that although there is a provision to keep only 15 per cent journalists in temporary status and on contract basis, only 15 per cent employees are permanent in media houses.
Stating that the Working Journalists Act has not been implemented in media houses even though it has already been 20 years of its formulation, Bista said that it was necessary to change the system of giving appointment letters to journalists every three-month in government media.
Likewise, Chairman of the Minimum Wage Fixation Committee, Poshan KC, said as per the recent report still 26 per cent journalists are yet to get minimum wages but many journalists than this actually remain to get minimum wages.
Director at the Information Department, Bishnu Bhakta Ranjit, said a total of nine complaints in this regard were registered at the Office of the Press Registrar in the fiscal year 2014/15.
He added that they used to resolve the problem by calling the management and journalists at a place.
Today’s meeting of the International Relations and Labor Committee has instructed to further the process of making permanent the journalists and staffs in the Gorakhapatra Corporation who long have been serving there. The Committee has issued directive to the concerned authority to do the needful as per the Working Journalist Act, 2051 and Labor Act, 2048.
According to the Committee’s Chairperson Prabhu Shah, the decision has been made after the lawmakers criticized the situation when the Acts were not effective in the state-owned media outlets.
In the meeting, Gorkhapatra Corporation General Manager Sushil Koirala affirmed that he was ready to extend up to a year from the existing 3 months the tenure of the stringers deployed in various districts for the Gorkhapattra.
Similarly, the Committee has also directed the Department of Information (DoI) to submit a report within a month, after studying about the salary, facilities, privileges the media workers working in various media outlets across the country.
In addition, the Committee has also instructed the DoI to submit the separate report, stating the implementation of the Labor Act and recourse taken against those not abiding by the Act. RSS