Nepal | September 27, 2020

Media face hard times in Chitwan

Rastriya Samachar Samiti
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Chitwan, August 6

With economic activities down in the wake of the COVID-19 menace, media have been adversely impacted here of late.

The advertisement market has declined so drastically that media hardly get anything by way of revenue. This has resulted in the media industry dwindling.

Four daily papers, 13 weeklies and a monthly magazine are published from Chitwan district where there are five local television and 23 FM radio stations and 24 news portals.

Most of them are struggling to sustain for lack of advertisement.

Director at Kalika FM and TV Kalika, Deepak Poudel, said, “Time has come to pay working journalists and staff by taking loan.

There are 32 employees in my media. Although they were paid regularly, they are paid once in two months now.

The operating cost of the media is Rs 800,000.” As the advertising companies have witnessed a slump, they stopped providing advertisements.

Govinda Aryal who runs Chitwan Post said there is less than 33 per cent return on the monthly investment in media.

“Before lockdown, the daily used to publish advertisement worth Rs 50,000 every day which has now decreased to Rs 10,000. The operation cost in this media with 32 employees is Rs 900,000 but it earns one third of the investment.”

He expressed worry as to how he would run the media outlet. “I’ve planned to request my staff to stay on unpaid leave citing the crisis,” he said.

Moreover, Suresh Chandra Adhikari, who runs a news portal also said there was no alternative to retrenchment because less than half per cent of the operation cost (Rs 800,00 per month) was gained. There are 14 staffers at his office.

Federation of Nepali Journalists has not received any complaint about staff lay-off.

However, reporters of media run from Kathmandu, except a few, have complained of not being paid salary regularly.

Those sharing information on non-payment want to remain anonymous.

FNJ Chitwan Chapter Chair Radheshyam Khatiwada said, “Media entrepreneurs have been complaining of declining business.

They have verbally informed that they were now unable to sustain media and provide regular salary.”

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 7, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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