House committee insists on effective enforcement of WJA

Kathmandu,  2016- Lawmakers have insisted on a strict enforcement of Working Journalist Act.

Speaking in a meeting of the International Relations and Labour Committee of the Legislature-Parliament on Sunday, they demanded action against those media houses not abiding by the Act. They voiced that such media house should be deprived of government facilities.

The majority of lawmakers airing their views in the meeting said it was really misfortunate that journalists who were supposed to raise voice of the voiceless were themselves deprived of their rights.

In the meeting, Minister for Information and Communications Surendra Kumar Karki pledged to sort out disputes regarding the WJA enforcement after holding discussions with media representatives and media entrepreneurs.

The state was expected to address the voices of all, he said, adding that the provision of minimum wages should be implemented in every business sector including media.

Former Prime Minister and committee member Madhav Nepal sought a proper recognition to media for its contribution to making every political movement in the country successful. Journalists should be well paid for their works, he stressed.

Information Secretary Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya informed the meeting that the Ministry had formed a committee to look into the issue relating to the enforcement of minimum wages recommended for working journalists.

President of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Mahendra Bista claimed that it was not compulsion but unwillingness of media to pay journalists for their works.

Poshan KC, Chair of Minimum Wages Fixation Committee that was established as per the provision in the WJA, said they decided to revise the minimum wages for working journalists after going through mammoth discussions with the bodies concerned, emphasizing on its effective enforcement.

Lawmaker Chudamani Jangali accused media industrialists of exploitation of labour. He voiced for a stern action against those media found violating the WJA.

Lawmaker Geeta Wagle urged journalists to be fully responsible towards their duty while advocating for rights.

Lawmaker Durga Poudel demanded the government be more sensitive towards the issues concerning women journalists who were in relatively sorry state than their male colleagues.

Lawmakers Rajan Bhattarai, Lalbabu Yadav, Abhishek Pratap Saha, Pushkar Acharya, Lalita Kumari Regmi, Kamala Sharma, Pemba Lama, Radha Timilsina, Rajya Laxmi Shrestha and Prem Kishor Saha including others stressed that the government should come up with elaborate measures to ensure the effective enforcement of WJA.

Though the government had decided to enforce the minimum wages (newly revised) for working journalists from the very beginning of the current fiscal, many privately-run media houses are yet to implement it. A full time working journalist of a big media house is recommended for the minimum wages of Rs 19,500 per month. RSS