KATHMANDU: Recently, the new executive committee of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) was elected under the banner of ‘Peace, Consensus and Constitution: FNJ’s Campaign’ proving that freedom of the press and the right to information are still an illusion.
It indicates that journalists are still concentrated on politics rather than professional developments and the right to information. While journalists are supposed to analyse politics and development, they themselves are not supposed to be involved in politics.
The umbrella organisation of journalists concluded its 23rd general meeting, electing and expressing concern about peace, consensus and constitution writing. But the way the leaders were chosen, the way the candidates were backed by political parties and the election of politically-backed candidates strongly prove that FNJ is more a sister political organisation than a professional organisation and that journalists are more cadres than independent journalists.
Journalists are supposed to champion the right to information and work for ensuring right to information of the public as guaranteed by constitution and law. Due to the lack of integrity, social security and insurance, the profession could not become systematic and effective. Because of these shortcomings, the level of professionalism has not been upgraded and journalists have gained trust and support from the public. Neither the state authorities nor the FNJ has paid any attention to this area.
In the past, FNJ was ready to organise sit-in protests, participate in such protests and join hands with politicians. Yet, it has never thought of making an effective systematic flow of information from government authorities. Despite the promulgation of the Right
to Information Act 2007, the authorities are not responsibly disseminating information but FNJ does not seem concerned about this.
Journalists have been killed, tortured, thrashed and harassed by political and armed forces in the last several years, but not a single case has been remedied or any culprit punished, which proves absolute impunity. The basic problem of journalists — guarantee of job, insurance of their life and guarantee to the right to information — are still in question but for FNJ such issues are not the agenda.
“We will concentrate on legal security for the profession and legal safety of journalists,” newly-elected FNJ President Shiva Gaunle told THT Perspectives. “We will strive for professional freedom of journalists and security and safety on the job and their insurance as well,” Gaule said, adding, “We will launch pressure oriented programmes if anyone tries to violate press freedom and will make a plan for the
welfare of journalists by joining hands with the