THT 10 YEARS AGO: PR system, republic are Maoist agendas

Kathmandu, August 8, 2007

Maoist chairman Prachanda today said his party would push through the agenda of proportional representation system in the constituent assembly elections, federal system of governance and republican order with the government.

The party will take up these issues in a meeting of the eight political parties, a Maoist source said.

Addressing the closing ceremony of the party’s six-daylong fifth extended meeting (plenum) in Balaju, Prachanda said they would “move ahead for the constituent assembly elections by forming a Leftist Republican Front.” “We are ready to sacrifice our lives for a revolution, but will never betray the people,” he said, adding that the party would prioritise the idea of unity, struggle and transformation and more importantly the concept of “transformation process”. “This plenum has miraculously united the party,” he said. He said his party has not returned to the peace process because it was defeated in the People’s War. “We came to the process with courage to face new challenges and with a new vision. We came to the process knowingly and it is necessary for all,” he said, adding that attacks on the party by reactionary forces would boomerang if the party remained united. “The unity shown by the party rank-and-file has defeated the regressive, royalist and foreign forces, who wanted to divide the party in this plenum,” he said.

Dr Baburam Bhattarai, the party’s second-in-command, said the extended meeting would be remembered as a “symbol of unity and victory.”

House passes working journalists’ bill

Kathmandu, August 8, 2007

The parliament today unanimously passed the Working Journalists Bill 2007 which was finalised and tabled by the parliamentary Environment, Communication and Technology Committee.

The Bill mandates a provision of a 13-member committee to ensure that a working journalist gets a minimum salary and is revised accordingly. The members in the committee include “senior” journalists both from the government and the private sector, including the press registrar as member secretary of the committee.

The Bill does not allow media houses to hire more than 15 per cent journalists on contract basis out of the total employees for the job of “special nature” with permission from the Press Registrar. However, it ensures provision of provident fund for working journalists hired on contract basis.

Among other things, the bill ensures facilities for journalists working in contract at par with those with ‘permanent status.’ It also ensures a provision to form a committee for determining “minimum salaries” for working journalists. It also ensures “treatment and compensation” for working journalists who sustain injuries while at work.