IFJ Condemns Mass Sackings at HBC FM in Kathmandu

The International Federation of Journalists strongly condemns the mass sacking of journalists and other employees of the HBC FM radio station. This move is believed to have been instigated by the chief advisor of the radio station, Birendra Dahal.

According to information received from the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) an affiliate of the IFJ, Dahal recently undertook a 15-day fast, ostensibly in defence of press freedom. The strike was called off after assurances were received from all the principal political parties of Nepal, that they would not condone any attack on the freedom of the media.

The FNJ had on humanitarian grounds, requested Dahal to call off his fast, while urging him to make the appropriate distinction between legitimate trade union activity and attacks on media freedom.

According to information received by the IFJ, six journalists from the HBC FM news desk, 12 district reporters, 37 program producers (of a total of 45) and seven technicians (of a total of nine) were sacked soon after Dahal resumed his duties at the radio station.

“The IFJ would like to reiterate its conviction that media freedom cannot exist when journalists are unable to pursue their legitimate demands for professional dignity, decent wages, and secure working conditions”, said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.

“We fully endorse the protest program that our affiliate, the FNJ intends to launch, to secure a fair deal for the HBC FM employees,” Park said.

The IFJ, a global organisation representing over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries, has been strongly encouraged by the significant gains secured by professional colleagues in Nepal, particularly in terms of the recent amendments to the Working Journalists’ Act and the enactment of a Right to Information Act.

“All these gains could prove illusory if HBC FM is allowed to disregard the legitimate demands of its employees and trample upon their rights in this manner,” Park said.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries