•      Wed Jul 24 2024

Increasing number of journalists leaving profession with closure of media

Myagdi, Dec 18: Padam Bishwokarma, who worked in different media as radio, newspaper and online for over a decade, left for Australia in August. Another journalist from Beni, Dhiran Bahadur Khattri, also is preparing to go to the UAE for work this week, calling it quits to his 10 years long journalism career.

Bishwokarma and Khattri are only a few among the many journalists in Maygdi who have forsaken their calling to go for abroad jobs.

The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Myagdi district chapter had 62 general members three years back. Now, it has 12 general members and around 15 other members following the ‘purification campaign’ launched by the FNJ.

The number of women journalists in the district is negligible. A growing number of journalists in the district have quit journalism and started other professions like trade and business, teaching or left for foreign employment and joined the non-governmental organisations.

FNJ Myagdi chapter president Prakash Poudel expressed concern over the emerging situation of the media shutting down and journalists in increasing numbers leaving journalism. “Journalists will be retained in their profession if there are media employing them. The situation at present is such that the media are closing one after the other. There is always the risk of irregularities, anomalies, malpractices and shady businesses thriving in society when journalists who play the role of watchdog quit their profession,” he said.

Radio Myagdi, Myagdi Press daily and Myagdi Sanchar weekly have shut their operations in a gap of the last two years alone. Sambriddha and Malika Press weeklies are also not regular. The responsibility of running the Rupse daily published by the Rupse Media Cooperatives Ltd has been handed to journalist Pratap Baniya, as the cooperative could not operate it, said Poudel, who is also the treasurer of the Cooperatives.

Myagdi Kali FM radio that had more than 20 staff, majority of them journalists, only some years back, is operating with only four staff presently.

Senior journalist Ghanashyam Khadka said if there is a dearth of journalists informing the society by reporting research-based, investigative, factual and credible news and information, then there is the risk of society not getting the true and factual news and information.

“Even the media publishing and broadcasting from Kathmandu and Pokhara have laid off their employees. The district-level media are also on the verge of closure due to resource crunch,” Khadka said.

Khattri, the journalist who is preparing to leave for the UAE in search of employment said that although he gained much knowledge, skills and experience as a journalist, he is going on abroad job as the income that he has been earning as a journalist is not enough to manage the family expenses.

Kamal Khattri, the president of Myagdi Media Society, an association of media operators of Myagdi district, shared that sustaining the media and retaining the journalists are the main professional issues at present.

“It is seen that the media of similar nature should be merged and the local resources mobilized for sustaining the district-level media. It is also necessary to make the society understand the importance and need of journalists for promoting good governance and democracy,” he added.

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