The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned
that police in Nepal
arrested 15 journalists participating in a peaceful rally to protest against
threats by Nepal 1 Television to enforce mass sackings at its office in Kathmandu.
According to the Federation
of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), an IFJ affiliate, the journalists - including FNJ
central committee member Diwakar Bagchand, FNJ Nepal 1 chapter president
Rajkumar Regmi and FNJ Bardiya branch president Shreeram Sigdel - were detained
outside the Indian Embassy at Lainchaur on August 19. They were released after
a short time.
The IFJ calls on authorities
in Nepal to ensure that Nepal 1 Television abides by its obligations under a
2007 workplace agreement to provide appointment letters to all staff, insurance
cover, holiday leave and a provident fund.
New Delhi-based Nepal 1
Television threatened mass sackings on July 14 if journalists and media workers
at its Kathmandu office continued to campaign
for implementation of the agreement. Nepal 1’s management signed the agreement
on May 7, 2007, ending a three-week strike by employees demanding implementation
of a collective agreement and improved working conditions.
According to the FNJ, the signing
of the agreement was witnessed by the Labour and Transportation Ministry’s
general secretary, Bishnu Lamsal, and the Information and Communication
Ministry’s joint-secretary, Narayan Prasad Regmi.
“The arrest of journalists
peacefully advocating for their right to decent working conditions and job
security raises serious concerns about the position of state authorities in
relation to an employer under pressure. This kind of intervention is wholly
inappropriate and an infringement of the right to freedom of association and expression,”
IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“Journalists and staff at
Nepal 1 Television achieved a great victory in certifying their workplace
agreement in 2007. Nepal
1’s unwillingness to follow through on its commitment shows bad faith and
should not be accepted, particularly as the workers’ demands for appointment
letters, insurance cover, a provident fund, holiday leave and reimbursement
allowances are reasonable and just.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 in 122 countries worldwide