The oldest news portal of Nepal, www.nepalnews.com, has, without prior notice, relieved 18 journalists from the job.
The news portal with 17 years' of history suddenly asked the journalists to leave the office, reasoning it could not survive on financial ground.
As a result, the journalists have been left in lurch, and are staging sit-in since then. The news dissemination has been obstructed.
On January 11, 2015, Chairman of Mercantile Communications Pvt. Ltd, Sanjib Raj Bhandari, issued the statement, "Having played a role in kick-starting and helping gain online news industry a degree of maturity, we believe it’s now time for us to exit from this operation and concentrate on our core activities in the technology business. We hereby announce suspension of news upload to the portal www.nepalnews.com with immediate effect. Direct streaming of partner contents (TV, FM, weeklies) will continue. Archived contents will also be available."
To this, senior reporter with the news portal, Rajendra Pokhrel, said to Freedom Forum, "A letter by the Media House Chairperson was read out to us, urging to leave the office, as it could not afford us anymore. It then suspended the news portal making us jobless."
He added, "We're forced to stage sit-in, demanding our restoration. The upload of news is completely halted."
It is the sheer violation of the Working Journalist Act. It has challenged the professional security of the working journalists.
Once the working journalists are put to risk- be it from media house or from others- it jeopardizes professional media and press freedom. Similarly, the disruption of the uploading of daily news has hindered citizen's right to information.
FF condemns the incident, and urges the management to seek practical solution of the problem so that citizen's right to information and journalists' professional security would be guaranteed, and keep intact the spirit of the Working Journalist Act.
For More Information
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org