Baidya union plays foul: Kantipur Publications

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Baidya union plays foul: Kantipur Publications

Aug 22, 2014-

A CPN-Maoist-affiliated trade union has disrupted the distribution of The Kathmandu Post and Kantipur dailies nationwide for the last two days, taking recourse to terror tactics instead of the due process to get its demands addressed.

Kantipur Publications has asked unionists associated with the Baidya party to get the status of official union through election, as required by labour laws. Instead, the CPN-Maoist-affiliated All Nepal Revolutionary Trade Union’s Kathmandu chapter has issued a statement threatening that the “fight with Kantipur Publications will be settled on the battleground”.

Kantipur has also taken strong exception to the Maoist tactic of disrupting the newspapers’ distribution through intimidation of its ‘delivery boys’ and obstructions at scores of distribution points in Kathmandu and outside, employing union members who are not associated with the publications. On Thursday and Friday, Maoist union members, most of them from outside the publications, gathered outside the publications office in Subidhanagar, chanting slogans against the Kantipur management and disrupting movement into and out of the premises.

The Maoist union’s seven-point demand for an increase in staff perks has not been officially put before the management but through a public statement, without in-house consultations.

Political parties and advocacy groups have termed the Maoist move as high-handed, grossly violating the people’s right to information, as it bars readers from getting their newspapers. They have asked the Maoist union to shun their undemocratic ways immediately and allow unhindered distribution of the dailies.

Nepali Congress leader Arjun Narsingh KC deplored the activities of the Maoist trade union. “There should be no disruption in newspaper distribution. If there are any issues, the two sides can sit and seek a solution peacefully.”

CPN-UML lawmaker Rabindra Adhikari said the Baidya Maoists were yet again resorting to “old school and outdated rhetoric”, which will politically discredit them even more.

“Such attempts benefit neither the trade union nor the institution [Kantipur]. These measures by the Maoists will only stem institutional development.” Media, he said, is a “sensitive” sector, and untoward protests there infringe on people’s right to information.

Nepal Bar Association General Secretary Sunil Pokharel said the Maoist moves are against the Interim Constitution, which guarantees the right to publication. “If such disruptive activities are carried out by the affiliates of political parties, then it raises questions over the commitment of such parties to fundamental principles of democracy, including press freedom.”

Former National Human Rights Commission member Gauri Pradhan said the disruption is aimed at challenging the people’s right to information and human rights.

“When there exists legal recourse to address grievances,” said Ram Krishna Timilasina, former registrar of the Supreme Court, “the [Maoist] approach is disruptive, illegal and unhelpful.”

Timilsina said any trade union can take legal recourse to have their demands met, instead of adopting illegal ways that question their commitment to rule of law and the due process—fundamentals of a democracy.

Published: 23-08-2014 09:01

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