FNJ’s general convention kicks off

Kathmandu, August 20

The 25th general convention of the Federation of Nepali Journalists began in Kathmandu today with the theme ‘Press Freedom and Labour Rights  Basis of Professional Journalism’.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba inaugurated the general convention during a function organised at Nepal Academy, Kamaladi. Addressing the assembly, Deuba praised the role played by media in establishing and strengthening democracy in the country.

“Now, I expect contribution of media fraternity to nation-building,” he said.

Prime Minister Deuba also said that he was aware of the difficulties facing Nepali media. “We have a number of media houses which are financially weak. I know how difficult it is to pursue a career in journalism,” he conceded, adding that the government would never curtail media autonomy on any issue, including ads. He stressed that media fraternity could cooperate with the government and political parties through warning, suggestions and healthy criticism.

Minister for Information and Communications Mohan Bahadur Basnet, Nepali Congress leader Prakash Sharan Mahat, CPN-UML leader Yogesh Bhattarai, CPN-Maoist Centre leader Pampha Bhushal and FNJ President Mahendra Bista also addressed the ceremony.

The three-day general convention (August 20-22) has brought together over 1,500 councilors , who will elect a 45-member new central committee of FNJ for three years. At least 10,000 mediapersons are affiliated to the umbrella organisations of journalists.

It is the first time FNJ will be electing a new central committee comprising one president, two vice-presidents, one general secretary, five secretaries, one treasurer and 35 members as per the federal setup. The convention will also elect new leadership for seven provinces.

Nepali Congress-aligned Nepal Press Union and CPN-Maoist Centre-aligned Press Centre Nepal have forged poll alliance by fielding Govinda Acharya as their common candidate for the post of FNJ president.

Similarly, Tirtha Koirala is vying for the top FNJ post from CPN-UML-aligned Press Chautrai Nepal and is backed by journalists affiliated to Naya Shakti Party-Nepal and other fringe parties. Ujir Magar and Indra Raut have also thrown their hats in the ring for FNJ president as independent candidates.  FNJ general convention is held every three years to elect a new central committee.