KATHMANDU, May 21: The Minimum Wages Fixation Committee (MWFC) has recommended to the government to set the minimum wage of working journalists at Rs 34,125 per month.
The team including Sangita Khadka, chairperson of the MWFC submitted the report to the Minister for Communication and Information Technology Rekha Sharma and proposed to increase the wages of working journalists.
Minister Sharma said that even though the economic situation is weak in the current situation, hardworking journalists should be paid enough to make a living and if the related media houses do not provide the salary as specified, the government will make a standard while giving public welfare advertisements to such media.
Similarly, Minister Sharma mentioned that it should be made compulsory to implement the Working Journalist Act. She also claimed that the government did not want to cut public welfare advertisements as the subject of a proportionate advertising system was included in the government's policies and programs.
"The government does not stop public welfare advertisements," Minister Sharma said, "The budget is insufficient for a month, but we have not said that advertisements will not be provided."
President of the Federation of Nepali Journalists, Bipul Pokharel, demanded that the government pay attention to fully implement the recommended minimum wage and emphasized that the government should also take initiatives to create an environment wherein the specified wage can be provided.
Khadka, chairperson of the committee, said that eight points have been recommended to the government for implementation, including a 40 percent salary increase.
It has been 27 years since the Working Journalists Act, 2059 BS came into force and 14 years have passed since the Act was amended for the first time, as it is necessary to amend the Act again according to the changed circumstances, it is mentioned in the recommendation that the process should be started for this.
In the recommendation, it is also mentioned that the necessary budget and manpower should be arranged for effective monitoring to find out the fact that the human resources working in media houses have not received their perks and benefits according to the law. Likewise, the said committee should be given additional powers to find out why the media houses have not implemented the services and facilities prescribed by the law and make them part of the rewards and punishments.