Kathmandu, September 16
Federation of Nepali Journalists issued a press release condemning the arrest of nine journalists, including its secretary and central committee members who were held from the premises of Radio Nepal inside Singha Durbar today after their talk with the Radio Nepal administration failed.
FNJ office bearers had gone to hold dialogue with Radio Nepal administration seeking reinstatement of three journalists — Prakash Bahadur Bam, Chakra Kunwar and Sunita Rawal — who were working for Radio Nepal Dipayal Transmission for years, but were ‘arbitrarily’ sacked by Radio Nepal administration.
Among the arrested journalists are FNJ Secretary Ram Prasad Dahal, FNJ centre committee members Yam Birahi, Janmadev Jaisi, Min Bam, FNJ Doti Chapter Chair Yogendra Balayar and other journalists Ajay Babu Siwakoti, Dilip Paudel, Prakash Bahadur Bam and Chakra Kunwar.
These journalists were arrested from Radio Nepal premises in Singha Durbar when some of the them tried to padlock the office after their talks with Executive Director of Radio Nepal Suresh Kumar Karki failed.
FNJ said journalists were arrested by police from the premises of Radio Nepal while they were returning to their offices after a failed negotiation with Radio Nepal administration.
FNJ also objected to heavy deployment of security personnel on the premises of Radio Nepal during the talks today. FNJ said arrest of those journalists, who were holding talks to resolve the working journalists’ problems, was a violation of labour rights and freedom of expression.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Nepali Congress and its parliamentary party also issued a press release condemning the arrest of journalists.
Stating that journalism was the foundation of democracy, NC parliamentary party said NC would always stand in favour of independent free press. The NC party and its parliamentary party demanded reinstatement of the sacked journalists.
FNJ central committee member Yam Birahi said Radio Nepal Dipayal Transmission Centre sacked journalists, who had worked for 13 to 14 years , without giving them a chance to be heard.
“FNJ is fighting for the sacked journalists as they are victims of arbitrary action of Radio Nepal,” Birahi said and added that the sacked journalists had staged a sit-in in Dipayal for almost two weeks, but they came to Kathmandu after their grievances were not addressed.
“Radio Nepal administration sacked these journalists to recruit the ruling party’s loyalists,” Birahi added. He said talks with Radio Nepal failed today as the executive director of Radio Nepal refused to reinstate the sacked journalists.
The arrested journalists were later released from custody in the evening.
A version of this article appears in print on September 17, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.