Precautions adopted by media houses against Covid-19 unsatisfactory: FNJ reportJournalists’ body points out the shortcomings of various media houses in dealing with the coronavirus crisis while suggesting the government come up with a relief package for mediapersons.
The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) has said that media houses have failed to take necessary precautions in order to protect mediapersons from Covid-19.
The federation, in a preliminary report prepared following a monitoring of various media houses during the lockdown, had found that many organisations had failed to provide masks, sanitiser and gloves, among other protective items, for many of their correspondents, camera persons and photojournalists who are constantly on the field. The report also said the media houses had not observed social distancing in their offices.
The report made public on Friday stated that several media houses had even failed to pay the salaries of their journalists, who were putting their lives at risk.
“During the monitoring it was found that many journalists were working even as they were short of their finances as their salaries of last month have not been cleared by the media houses,” read the report. “The journalists were also found to be working longer hours than that stipulated by the law while being deprived of overtime payment.”
The FNJ report also stated that some media houses had laid off some journalists and technicians; others were found to have sent their employees on unpaid leave while some outlets were only letting them work part time. The report pointed out that the unemployment rate of journalists had increased during the lockdown period.
The journalists’ umbrella organisation also pointed out the problem of acquiring vehicle passes for journalists travelling to and from office, adding that 11 journalists were threatened, misbehaved and barred from collecting news since the lockdown began on March 24.
The federation has also suggested that the government come up with a relief package for journalists and media organisations that are disseminating information to the public even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government and media organisations should arrange for protective equipment, regular health checkup, insurance and easy access to information for mediapersons who are at risk,” the federation stated.