IFJ Welcomes Dialogue Between Journalists Leaders and Information Minister in Nepal

 

The International Federation

of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the open dialogue between the Ministry for

Information and Communications and leading journalists’ organisations in Nepal after a

constructive meeting between Information and Communications Minister Krishna

Bahadur Mahara and the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) on October 21.

 

During the meeting Dharmendra Jha, President of the FNJ,

an IFJ affiliate, presented the

Minister with a 15-point memorandum on media related issues under Nepal’s

newly elected democratic government.

 

The memorandum emphasised the imperative for a guarantee for press

freedom to be an unalterable element of the country’s newly developed

constitution, the FNJ reports.

 

Among other issues raised at the meeting were the establishment of a commission

to investigate the murder, abduction, torture and violence against journalists since the

2005 Royal Coup, the implementation

of the Working Journalists Act, and

the re-structuring of media law to ensure editorial independence from political

interference across the country.

 

“Press

freedom and independence of the media are crucial for Nepal’s success under its new government,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

said.

 

“An open

dialogue between the government and leading journalists’ organisations like the

FNJ is the best way to ensure that any review of media freedom in Nepal

incorporates the major issues facing journalists.”

 

This

meeting follows the successful application by the National Union of Journalists

(Nepal)

(NUJN), also an IFJ affiliate, on

September 12 for the public release of a committee report on minimum wages

under the country’s Right to Information Act.

 

Minister Mahara

directed his ministry to post the report on the Ministry’s website after Ram

Prasad Dahal, Secretary of the NUJN,

made an application for its public release on September 5.

 

The

report, which was submitted to the Government on August 28, recommends

implementation of the Working Journalists’ Act 2007, and that the minimum wage

for media personnel be at least 4000 rupees (US$57) a month.

 

“News

of positive interaction between the Ministry of Information and Communications

and leading journalists’ organisations like the FNJ and NUJN

is a welcome change from a culture of violence against the media in Nepal,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific.

 

“We

congratulate both the FNJ and the NUJN

for setting the agenda for the country’s journalists at this important

transitional time in Nepal’s

history.”

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide