15 radio journos quit, accuse FM station of intimidation

Narayangarh, May 17:

Accusing the administration of the Bharatpur-based Kalika FM station of mentally torturing them and threatening to charge them with involvement in Maoist activities, 15 journalists of the station, who had been staging a strike, resigned today.

Issuing a statement following a press meet today, the journalists said they were compelled to resign as the administration, instead of considering their demands, began intimidating them mentally.

The journalists were demanding permanent appointment, provident fund, insurance, arrangement of bonus and grade, extra pay for working overtime and increment in their salaries.

Ajit Devkota, Arjun Dhakal, Sirjan Abiral, Samjhana Karki, Ram Chandra Ghimire, Prakash Gyawali, Ujjwal Gautam, Pratima (Preeti) Bhattarai, Sandeep Kumar Chaudhari, Bishnu Poudel, Sama Thapa, Kishor Sapkota, Raj Kumar Shrestha, Bhim Rawal and Bijaya Thapa are the journalists who quit.

Meanwhile, the Maoist aligned All-Nepal Trade Union Federation-Revolutionary (ANTUF-R) has given an ultimatum to the FM station, demanding that the latter meet the employees’ demands within May 29. Speaking at the press conference, central member of the ANTUF-R Yogendra Kumal expressed solidarity with the journalists.

President of the Chitwan chapter of the FNJ Janak Aryal said the federation would intervene in favour of the media personnel.

Director of the Kalika FM, Ramesh Joshi, however, said the resignation tendered by the employees had not been approved yet. He said the journalists’ demands would be discussed when managing director of the station Bikram Pandey arrives in Chitwan. Pandey, according to Joshi, will arrive in Chitwan on Friday.