Nepal Press Freedom Update: Papers Back on Stands, Maoists Back Off, Editors Unite

Update: In a separate agitation program today, police detained over 35 journalists from the southern gate of Singha Durbar, the central administrative block as some scribes were protesting against the recent Maoist attack on the press. Demanding reinstatement of 49 scribes who were sacked from state-owned Gorakhapatra, press freedom, among other, the journalists were staging a sit-in at the south gate of Singha Durbar today. (more)

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In a pleasant development in the struggle for press freedom, Nepali media emerged victorious yesterday after the Maoists backed off from their strikes in media houses. Meanwhile, prominent editors of the country have come under a common umbrella called Editors’ Alliance. Here’s the summary of the development:

Court Issues Stay Order: The Patan Appellate Court on Wednesday (15 Aug) issued a stay order requiring a Maoist-aligned trade union not to obstruct the printing and distribution of The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post dailies. The court noted that the obstruction has infringed people’s constitutional and legal right to information.

Mahara Urges Dialogue: Minister for Information and Communications Krishna Bahadur Mahara has urged the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) and other media organizations to resolve the present crisis seen at media houses through dialogues. “We have a special request to the FNJ and other organizations to take positive initiative to resolve the dispute between working journalists and the managements of media organizations,” Mahara said in a statement. “The government is seriously concerned due to the uncomfortable situation at Gorkhapatra Corporation, HBC FM , Annapurna Post, The Himalayan Times and other institutions in recent days,” Mahara said. (source)

Shalikram Jamarkattle, Chief of the Maoist trade union, has said that his organization wouldn’t obstruct the publications of newspapers from 15 August. He issued a statement on 15 August saying that while launching agitation for the rights of workers, his trade union wouldn’t close down offices and disrupt printing and circulation of the newspapers. He also said that other forms of agitation would be opted. He also requested his union’s branch in the Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post not to obstruct the publication of the dailies, Annapurna Post reported in its 16 August edition.

APCA Thanks: “We in the APCA family worldwide are extremely happy at this turn of events. It has once again vindicated our faith in Nepal’s democracy and the democratic institutions in the country, especially its fearless and extremely fair judiciary. We are also very glad to see the responsibility with which leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and its affiliated union have behaved to resolve the deadlock. At this moment we would also like to express our deepest admiration for democratic political parties in Nepal, the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, the Nepal Media Society, all our contemporary publications, as also various independent television and radio stations of Nepal, Editors Alliance, Nepal Bar Association, diplomatic community, Nepal’s civil society and business community.” from a Thank You note published in today’s The Himalayan Times.

[Disturbance on fifth consecutive day: The workers continued to disrupt the printing and distribution of The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post for the fifth consecutive day today (15 August), the Times reported. “They also prevented the staffers from entering the newspapers’ offices for an hour in the afternoon. The workers barred printing and dispatch staff of the Sama Printers (printers of the THT and AP) from entering the office premises in Bhaisepati last night and this morning (15 August).”]

Editors Alliance Formed: A group of editors of Nepal’s national newspapers, magazines and television have set up an alliance to fight what they called a “concerted and deliberate” spate of attacks on press freedom. Ten members of the Editors’ Alliance said on Wednesday they have come together because they saw a sinister pattern of intimidation and threats against journalists by Maoist-affiliated organizations.

“We didn’t have such a serious attack on press freedom even during the direct censorship of media after the king’s coup in February 2005,” the Alliance said in a statement. The Alliance is made up of editors of The Kathmandu Post (Prateek Pradhan), Nepal Samacharpatra, (Pushkar Lal Shrestha), Kantipur (Narayan Wagle), Image Channel (Vijay Panday), The Himalayan Times (Ram Pradhan), Sudheer Sharma (Nepal), Shree Acharya (Annapurna Post), Yubaraj Ghimire (Samaya), Shiva Gaunle (Himal Khabarpatrika) and Kunda Dixit (Nepali Times). [Kunda Dixit is the chair of the Alliance.]

A release issued by the Alliance on 15 August stated: The publication of The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post have since 11 August been obstructed by a Maoist-affiliated labour union. Members have even entered the news room to physically threaten journalists. Production at Nepal Samacharpatra, Kantipur, Kathmandu Post, HBC FM, Drishti Weekly have also been disturbed in recent weeks.

“We ask that the Maoist leadership, including Information Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, honour its stated commitment to protect press freedom and not to incite attacks on the media,” the Editors’ Alliance stated. The Alliance also drew the attention of UNMIN and the international community to these assaults and threats on the media and the impact this will have on the peace process and its potential to disrupt the environment for free and fair elections.

Related Blogs:

1. A Notice That Wasn’t Printed in the Himalayan Times….

2. Maoist Madness in The Himalayan Times

3. Newspapaper closure and Maoist madness

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22 thoughts on “Nepal Press Freedom Update: Papers Back on Stands, Maoists Back Off, Editors Unite”

  1. It is best to not say what one thinks and not say one is a journalist in any case.
    Not only in Nepal.
    In Italy journalism is just business and money power, in other countries there is a serious ‘unbiased’effort to report.
    This is out of the question in an atmoshpere of violence. If it happened before it can happen again, so that explains why there is not much interesting news. Just traffick jam which is also not true.
    The best way to read in general is all is opposite so when Deuba says atmosphere is not good it means wow we can doit.

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  2. “The Alliance is made up of editors of The Kathmandu Post (Prateek Pradhan), Nepal Samacharpatra, (Pushkar Lal Shrestha), Kantipur (Narayan Wagle), Image Channel (Vijay Panday), The Himalayan Times (Ram Pradhan), Sudheer Sharma (Nepal), Shree Acharya (Annapurna Post), Yubaraj Ghimire (Samaya), Shiva Gaunle (Himal Khabarpatrika) and Kunda Dixit (Nepali Times). [Kunda Dixit is the chair of the Alliance.]”

    Freedom of the press my foot. Nobody on this list is a true Nepalese. Figure out who is who yourself, but this list is made up of British-Nepalese, American-Nepalis, Indian-Nepalese, Chinese-Nepalese and Russian Nepalese. They have nothing to do with the freedom of common Nepalese as long as they have their way.

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  3. Now what?? Should we thank Maoists for the great generosity they have shown ,allowing papers to hit the stand??

    I guess FNJ will issue a statement of gratitude!!

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  4. Journalist have right time to hit Maoist ! Hit them where hurts. As Lord Krishna told to Arjun in final battle of Maha Bharat while he was fighting with Duryodhan.
    Some of the context Journalist are responsible for glorifying Maoist violence. Better lesson has been learned. Lets shred the veil of secrecy of Maoist. Journalist have two option first confront with them as together or hide your instinct. Obiviously they have first option ahead.

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  5. I think I have to give kudos to the editors for a change, they have been quiet for too long, – Indian, russian, british, American or Nepali. Who cares? What is right is right, the truth is simply the truth no matter who says it. And being human enough to say it is what counts.

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  6. I agree with Scope maoist on this point scope (15:24:45) :. Sometimes Maoist speak from the heart. That is why I believe them more than the SPA warlords. Maoists are not as much a danger to Nepal as SPA criminal ganglord, killers are who have raped the shitttteee out of Nepal.

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  7. I agree with hawa! MBs have never been in for peace and prosperity of the people. They are bloodthirsty thugs. Lets use pen not guns to wipe them out. Revolution does not come from the barrel of a gun but from the collective consciousness. Lets hope this is the sign of the new dawn.

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  8. Its completely different story what I am going to write.
    The day before yesterday, I took a cab form Thapathali to Pulchowk. I’ve been doing so for a month. I pay 45 rs everyday as per meter. Sometimes, less than 45. On Tuesday, as usual I took cab and came to Pulckowk. As I was about to see meter, driver had already switched off it and he asked 60. I said why he switched off meter. I would not give more than 45 which I have been paying daily. He said, then dont pay even a rupee, get off from cab and take your way so I did. However, I had walked 20 step, he drove his car as if he wanted to kill me.
    Then we had discussed, he threatened me that he has already killed a man and he would not leave me too and so so.. finally I said lets go to police and he took 45 and went.
    I called 103 to report but phone was busy then I called Thapathali traffic police. One lady picked the phone up and said try again 103. its been three days I have been trying 103 but am not being able to get connection yet. I am not afraid but sometime i think what if he came from back and hit me. He can do this easily.

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  9. Everyone has to face the consequences of their own actions; even journalists and even Moaists.

    The reason journalists have such a bad name in Nepal is because of the practice of extortion that many of them also participate in – “pay some this much or we will write bad things about you.” Everyone who has been a vicitim of character assassination knows this to be true and unfortunately, none of these rascals are ever brough to justice because the law is always sympathetic to the media side.

    The media has played a very partial role and failed the Nepali people during the recent madhes uprising; they have done much to fuel the fire during the April uprising; they have continued without consequence, to write what they feel without any solid evidence to back up their writing. Is this responsible journalism or propaganda and is this democratic?

    In a twisted way, what the Maoists are doing is teaching Nepali media a lesson or two. And it is foolish to even consider that the the Maoists have backed off – episodes like this will continue in different forms again.

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  10. If one cannot study well in the university or one of the campuses, then, the first choice to be a student neta which clears the path to politics = money. Second, if one cannot hack into the world of student politics, then, you try become a patrakar = also makes money.

    Journalism in Nepal has no checks & balances. There is no ethics. Some

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  11. Maoists can not set benchmark for Nepalese Media how should they operate. Even if there is some unprofessionalism on the part of Journalists, it is not proper method to correct that resorting to unwanted blockades. We hope that maoists polpot will understand the power of common people. Once they decide to push maoists back, then, maoists can never regain its faith. Kudos to all who contributed to fight against maoists’ autocratism.

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  12. Dear All
    Greetings!
    SORRY FOR CROSSPOSTING !
    I have been taking lots of benefit from the discussion through this group mail on several issues, most interestingly about reservation and women’s’ rights issue. It was really good.
    I would like to put some fact clips (you can say newsclips) here, relating to the debate about labour rights which taking place a big coverage nowadays in Nepali media, Parliament, politician and ‘civil society’ as well.
    And just would like to raise a question for discussion.
    Fact No. 1. Annapurna Post and the Himalayan Times Daily have been closed for almost week. The reason given that, it is due to the Maoist affiliated workers, who forcefully closed the media to ensure their demand of appointment letter, salary increasing and so on.
    Fact No. 2. The Radio HBC has also been closed for 5 days for almost same reason. Mr. Birendra Dahal, a manager of the Radio has been sitting fast-onto-death against it.
    Fact No. 3. The management of Dabor Nepal, one of a ‘leading foreign company’ decided to close the factory last week. Dabor even threatened that It would go back to home if the problem is not solved. But Just yesterday factory again resumed. The reason was the same for closing factory that Maoist affiliated workers halted the works to ensure their demand of appointment letter, permancy of job, salary increasing and so on.
    Fact No. 4. Nepali Labour Act 1990 has ensured that any business house or company or institution must give the appointment letter to the workers or employees and make them permanent who work at least 240 days in the same factory.
    Fact No. 5. Labour Act has also established a Minimum Wage/Salary fixation committee, to recommend minimum wage/salary of the workers or employees time to time after reviewing inflation etc. Last year i.e. 2063/04/30, GON has fixed NRS 3300 as the lowest scale of the salary for non-skilled workers.
    Fact No. 6. Many workers have been sharing their problems that industrial managers even not following minimum legal requirements, however, these are not adequate in present context.
    Fact No.7. Industrialists, Business houses are claiming that they are in deep crisis now. According to them one of the causes is the labour. That is why they want completely ‘hire and fire’ system.
    Fact No.8. All these full circles, Maoist are in centre point now. From media to politician, all are blaming Maoist for the problems. Maoist are charged even for violating almost all past commitments including Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
    Now, the question is what are the problems in our industrial-labour relation?
    k samasya bahira dekhieko jasto matria ho?
    Thanks
    Regards
    BholaNath Dhungana
    Lawyer, Kathmandu

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  13. THANK YOU! Saturday. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
    Unions we need there are conditions of medieval slavery that is the reality of nepali salaries. In Nepal it is sooo nice to do projects, because a european salary of minimum wage 1200 euro is a double year salary and I have already said to much.
    So why should Birendra Dhakal become Ghandi, I happen to know him we had a chat on permaculture a gardening system and he redid that program, so I feel particularly bad. The question as usually is what to say what not.
    It is also true that we are in pre election time and nobody knows what to vote if I had a right to vote I swear to God I cannot decide…So my inner knowing is no one knows what is good for Nepal. But somebody pretend anything and talk my friend Birendra out of this heroism, he is already a historical hero WE LOVE HIM anyway, but we want that radio to continue. I made some phone calls european and Nepal as well, I feel he will feel this solidarity one man alone is doing something for his country what can be done to make him change his mind ./ DO it. It has been a week. If the problem is not the salary it it is so called press freedom, it will come Birendra and you have been instrumental enough now go back to normal life. People love that beautiful Radio station. Sponsors from Europe will mange better salaries, journalist unions from Europe and the US ( I have been in touch with USA representatives who are passing on this info). are working on this. Marjolijn Hohberger former international correspondent Latin America, publicist and journalist, Netherlands, Italy regular visitor to the premisses of Himalayan Radio and the rest of Nepal. Friend of Birendra Dhakal. Mr. Birendra do us a favour and get back to work. They will open your radio right now. Namaste and love from all of us in Europe and the US, thank you for your effort.

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  14. scope : only strong economic growth will alleviate the rampant poverty in this country. Maoists, SPA and Monarchist rhetoric will do nil. That means all industries in Nepal must be given as much help as possible by the govt. and the stakeholders i.e. owners, management and the rest of the employees. Ofcourse that does not mean that the rights of the workers should not be protected. A minimum wage is absolutely necessary and the NPR 3,300 pm set by the govt. as stated by Mr. Dhungana seems a fair one. Again as pointed out by Mr. Dhungana most of the laws are already in place to protect the workers. The problem is in enforcement and implementation. If only the govt. babus implemented the laws properly and the owners and management of these businesses abided by the laws there would be no need for these unions. So until things change these unions are an evil necessity…

    I say evil necessity because though they do at present in some cases prevent exploitation of the workers…they also create unecessary problems by resorting to strikes (often violent) instead of resolving the problems via dialogue and prevent the firing of unruly and indisciplined workers because of their union affiliation. In certain industries such as the hotel and trekking industry they have also been known to make very unrealistic demands even though they are being paid quite well often crippling these industries with their demands. Also when a business slows down or faces losses why should staff be fired inorder to cut down on costs? It’s basic economics. So hire and fire with certain guidelines is also necessary.

    Look at what unchecked trade unionism did in West Bengal. When the British left India W. Bengal was one of the most industrialised regions in the whole of Asia. But militant trade unionism backed by the CPM party wiped out the industries within a few decades. The businessmen simply packed up and moved to more favourable states for their businesses like Maharasta and Gujarat. All the jobs and the wealth creation went away with these industries. The W. Bengal govt. (i.e CPM party) faced with high unemployment and empty state coffers only in the late nineties realised their folly and are now going overboard wooing the industries to come back.

    Do you guys never study history other than that of falsely glorified Maoists movements? If you guys did at least the same mistakes could be avoided and this country and it’s people spared of so much misery.

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  15. Unions are for those who are lazy and for those like the Maoists who have learnt and only know how to threaten and loot, they have no idea of working to earn. Neither do they also have the education or the skills to be employed. It is funny that Nepal Army and Maoist Army want to join, what a joke. Maoist army has no discipline among ranks, they do what they please, run out of cantonements, so our national army is going to be like that. IN any case Maosist are a bunch of illiterate fools who ahve no skills, no desire to work and are in plain words “thugs” that steal and loot, and thats why they need a Union desperately.

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  16. unions… get lost.

    Labour market in nepal is very cheap. If I am get someone who is willing to work for me for 2000Rs per month, why should I pay 4000 Rs for another one as they both are equally qualified?

    Maoist stop your politics:
    Unions: open one media house, where all your workers get 10,000 Rs per month, distribut free newspapers, charge minimum for advertisements, provide quality of news.. Can you do this, you bloody maoists?

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  17. This is what is going on private initiatives are closed down, we all dress mao blue and universities and schools closed, immigration out also closed.
    Could we at least have that entertaining RADIO OPEN while we sit at home?????
    Lot of daniubad.
    School I already been.

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  18. The decentralistion of power to the different regions can bring the economic growth in the country. So, the federal concept with the growth of regional parties can bring lots of changes in Nepali economy if that move in proper and competitive way.

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  19. SCOPE IS RIGHT
    all over the world you get these power blocks who will tell you what to think….
    that is the reason why ethnic minorities and so on need to be included. Then some free thinkers will never be included because one should always be in the opposition .
    Media have an important part to play in society media create racism, conservatism the whole lot. Entire issue of muslim problem got worse because of HOW media covered the merciless war in gulf countries, women and children were killed in the mud and they should have demonstrated compassion and they did not so people got upset. When you kill a goat in Africa a french goat may feel sad, no?
    We need more academias and colleges of journalism for minorities. Netherlands did this much and even so we have problems , though so much less than all the rest of Europe. They included turkish journalists, maroccans, black newsreaders. Chile has a female president of the republic she said when one woman comes into power it changes a lot when all women come into power it changes the world. Even Condoleezza Rice looks more human than her boss, at least she gets nervous. visibly. We need human beings. Not power. Power is always bad. Give it up.

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  20. Hello,

    I have interest to put advertise at the Nepali newspaper. Could you please send to me information about some local (USA) newspaper.

    Thanks & Regards

    Noemia Reis
    Business Marketing
    Global Transaction Services – Global Remittances PayQuik Inc., a subsidiary of Citibank, N.A.
    150 Monument Road, Suite 207
    Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
    610-660-0711 x302
    610-660-0715 fax

    Like

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