Implementation of minimum wage for working journalists from new fiscal: Minister Rai

Kathmandu, July 11

Minister for Information and Communications Sherdhan Rai, who is also the government spokesperson, today said that a minimum salary structure determined for working journalists would come into effect from the beginning of the new fiscal year 2016/17 (July 16).

Speaking at an interaction ‘Implementation of Minimum Salary in Media’ organised by the Minimum Wage Fixation Committee under the Ministry of Information and Communications in Kathmandu, he said, “The government is committed to implementing the minimum salary of working journalists associated with different media, while reaching a conclusion on a charter of the 11-point demand put forth by Nepal Media Society and other associations of media houses. Discussion on the grievances of media operators is under way.”

The Cabinet on May 5 had endorsed the recommendations of the MWFC so as to put it in place from July 16.

However, the media fraternity have set conditions that the government should be obliged to fulfil their 11-point demand for implementation of minimum salary.

Minister Rai claimed that the decision on minimum salary of working journalists was not meant to cause any adverse effect on the investment of the media industry, but it was to ensure the professional security of mediapersons.

He also appealed to all media houses, journalists and other stakeholders to cooperate with the government to implement it. Mahendra Bista, president of the Federation of Nepali Journalists, urged the government to implement the minimum salary by even increasing the quantum of other facilities to media houses.

Journalist Prateek Pradahan cautioned that the implementation of minimum salary structure could hit media houses with small investment the worst.

As per the structure of minimum salary recommended to the MWFC and approved by the Cabinet, journalists associated with media houses (‘A’ Class newspapers, all television stations, FM radios with capacity of above 500 Watt, all government-owned media, radio networks and FMs with more than one station) where the Working Journalists Act, 1993 is effective, will be entitled to a minimum monthly salary of Rs 19,500.

Similarly, Rs 14,000 has been fixed as minimum monthly salary for employees/workers of such media house. The existing minimum monthly salary of journalists and employees/workers associated with national-level media is Rs 10,008 and Rs 7,367 respectively. The Labour Act 1992 has a provision for fixing the minimum salary on the basis of recommendations made by MWFC.

MWFC said the recommendation is also based on the Nepal Living Standard Survey published by the Central Bureau of Statistics and the total inflation rate since 2012.