More women journalists losing their jobs due to coronavirus pandemic

Kathmandu, July 27

Members of Development and Technology Committee and women journalists have said that women journalists have been mostly affected due to COVID-19. During discussion with women journalists at the committee meeting today, they said that the number of women journalists relieved from jobs or asked to stay on leave without pay was high.

Committee Chair Kalyani Kumari Khadka said that media house owners should not relieve journalists from jobs or ask them to stay on leave without pay in the name of coronavirus.

Khadka said the committee had received complaints that media house owners relieved journalists working for a long time from their jobs and recruited new journalists at low salary.

“Women journalists, who had spent their time in journalism, have to restart their career from zero level in other sectors if media houses relieve them from their jobs.”

Similarly, committee member Ganesh Kumar Pahadi said that working journalists act had not been implemented in an effective manner. Working journalists are deprived of different facilities including provident fund, maternity leave and insurance.

He said though the job security of journalists was a longstanding problem, it has now increased due to coronavirus.

Likewise, another committee member Rangamati Shahi said she had to face discrimination for being a woman after her election as lawmaker, adding that she had got involved in politics thinking justice could be done through politics.

Committee member Yagyaraj Sunuwar opined that the concept of inclusion had been brought into practice after the second people’s movement and stressed that some problems of women journalists should be resolved permanently.

Chair of Sancharika Samuha Nitu Pandit said media house owners had not provided salary to some women journalists though they were asked to work from home during the lockdown.

Pandit added that though journalists had fulfilled their duty, the media houses did not fulfil their responsibilities.

Sancharika Samuha would establish a fund for women journalists facing problems, she said.

Member of Press Council Nepal Sangita Khadka said that a survey carried out by the council on print, electronic, online and television media showed that the condition of journalists was vulnerable during the lockdown.

She stressed that the media should not relieve journalists from their jobs even after demanding subsidy from the government.

Chairperson of Working Women Journalists Amika Rajthala expressed the view that women journalists had been facing mental torture due to financial crisis.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 28, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.