Leaders, MPs back Kantipur in union stir

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Leaders, MPs back Kantipur in union stir

Aug 26, 2014-

Politicians and lawmakers have condemned the obstruction in the printing and distribution of The Kathmandu Post and Kantipur dailies, terming the act as infringement on press freedom and the people’s right to information.

The CPN-Maoist-affiliated All Nepal Revolutionary Communication, Printing and Publications Workers’ Union has been disrupting the publication of the two newspapers for the last six days.

Former PM Surya Bahadur Thapa, Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, CPN-UML leader Bishnu Poudel and lawmaker Rajendra Pandey, NC leader Ramesh Lekhak, and Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party leader Hridayesh Tripathi reached the Kantipur Publications headquarters in Subidhanagar on Tuesday to object to the union’s activities.

A team led by Constituent Assembly member Usha Gurung and another led by National Business Initiative General Secretary Surendra Bir Malakar also joined the politicians in calling the obstruction “illegal”.

“When you curtail press freedom, you infringe on others’ rights,” said Thapa. Pandey said that the workers should call off their agitation.

Poudel decried the ongoing attacks on delivery men and asked the government to intervene immediately. Lekhak labelled the agitating union members as “terrorists” and “anti-democracy”. Malakar accused the CPN-Maoist of stirring needless troubles in a private organisation.

On Tuesday, the Association of Nepal Democratic Lawyers and Disharnirdesh Press Club issued separate statements to deplore the attack.

On Monday senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai and Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal visited the Publications to express their solidarity with the managers.

Kantipur has assured that despite obstacles the house remains committed to readers’ “right to right information”. The management committee has also agreed to talk with the official trade union.

The labourers on strike have been demanding that the Publications increase their monthly wage to Rs 10,800 in line with the minimum wage set by the government.

Kantipur, however, says that it has been following the law. “The laws on minimum wage apply to full-time workers, who work eight hours a day. We cannot pay those who work for two hours daily at par with full-timers. We have been paying the agitating workers Rs 7,500 monthly,” it said. Kantipur chapter of the FNJ on Tuesday called on the union to allow unhindered distribution of the papers.



Published: 27-08-2014 10:30

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