The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) hails the compensation payment finally made to Ram Prasad
Dahal following his unfair dismissal from the Rajdhani daily in 2005, as a historic triumph for press freedom in
According to information received
from IFJ-affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of Nepal (NUJ-N), Dahal
met with the Chairman of the media group that publishes the Rajdhani daily on July 18 2012, in the
presence of officials from the Bagmati Regional Labour Office in Kathmandu. The
amount decreed by Nepal’s Labour Court, as compensation due for unfair
dismissal, was paid to Dahal after the meeting. The settlement came after the Court
stipulated that the media group’s assets would be attached in the event of
continuing non-compliance with its decree.
Dahal’s services as chief
reporter with Rajdhani were
terminated in March 2005, following which he filed a writ petition with the
Court seeking remedy. He believes that he was sacked because of his political
beliefs and opposition to the absolute power held by the Nepali monarchy at the
In October 2006, the Court found
that Dahal had been not been dismissed in bad faith and without adequate cause and
ordered Mahendra Sherchan - Chairman of
Utkarsha Publications and owner of Rajdhani – to reinstate Dahal to his position and pay him compensation and back
The ruling was not honoured and
in taking up the matter again this year, the Labour Court imposed a two month
prison sentence and a fine of NPR 5,000 (approximately USD 60 at prevalent
rates) on Sherchan.
Non-compliance by the media house
led to further Court issued penalties including the freezing of its assets. Dahal
meanwhile, chose not to pursue the Court order on his reinstatement since he
had secured employment elsewhere.
“We welcome the recent settlement
which is a major accomplishment for press freedom, journalistic integrity and
independence in Nepal”, said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.
“We hope that in terms of the
judicial interpretations of Nepal’s labour laws and the Working Journalists’ Act, the principles applied in Dahal’s case
will become a part of the established law in Nepal”.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0950
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific