The formal award distribution ceremony took place on May 26, 2023, Friday at Alfa House in Buddhanagar, Kathmandu, organized jointly by the Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee (PNCC) and the Labour Employment Journalism Group (LEJoG). The event received financial support from the Open Society Policy Centre. A total of 61 individuals attended the program, with 47 male participants and 14 female participants. While most of the attendees were journalists, individuals from civil societies, trade unions, media personnel, government officials from the labour employment department, and board were also present. Mr. Som Prasad Lamichhane, Executive Director of PNCC, warmly welcomed all the participants and inaugurated the program. He announced that it was the fourth edition of the annual labour employment journalism award, which started in 2075. Mr. Sunil Neupane, Chairman of LEJoG, presided over the award distribution ceremony, while the honourable Minister Mr. Sharat Singh Bhandari, responsible for Labour, Employment, and Social Security, graced the occasion as the chief guest. Mr. Danduraj Ghimire was a special guest at the award program. Mr. Kul Prasad Karki, the chairman of PNCC, delivered a welcome speech emphasizing the significance of honouring journalists who dedicate their work to addressing labour migration issues.
After the welcome speech from the chairman Mr. Rameshor Nepal, the Executive Director of Equidem Nepal, presented the findings of a research study titled “Chaunati ko Chapata,” which was published in May 2023. The research aimed to clear up on the situation of Nepali migrant workers based on data collected by the PNCC (Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee) between 2018 and 2022. The study examined a total of 11,616 cases involving 16,818 individuals who were affected by various challenges. Mr. Nepal focused specifically on the difficulties faced by migrant workers in his presentation. The research findings highlighted several key points:
- Trends in Overseas Migration: The research indicated that the patterns of Nepalese migrant workers going abroad remained similar to previous years.
- Increase in Wage Theft Cases after COVID-19: The study revealed a noticeable rise in cases related to wage theft following the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Geographic Distribution: Although the research covered data from 60 countries, it revealed that 93% of the observed cases originated from Gulf countries and Malaysia.
- Prevalence of Cases from Saudi Arabia: The majority of reported cases involved Nepali migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.
- Migration Pathways: The study demonstrated that 48% of migrant workers chose to go through licensed agencies, while 19% took the risk of leaving the country by obtaining labour permits themselves. The remaining portion of the population seemed to migrate abroad through irregular channels.
By presenting these findings, Mr. Rameshor Nepal highlighted the pressing challenges faced by Nepali migrant workers and emphasized the need for further attention and support in addressing these issues in front the floor.
Then, the award function started Winners:
Mr. Meghraj Sapkota and Mr. Pawan Pandey both declared as the third positions among all the writers and journalists, whereas the Mis. Muna Kunwar secured the second position, while Mr. Bhupraj Basyal and Tara Chapaign were awarded the first prize. The winners’ dedication and exceptional abilities were duly acknowledged by the organizers and the audience.
Prizes and Certificates:
The first, second, and third prize winners were rewarded with cash prizes of 20,000, 15,000, and 10,000 Nepali Rupees, respectively. In addition to the monetary rewards, all winners were honoured with appreciation certificates. These certificates served as a evidence to their remarkable accomplishments and were presented by Mr. Sarat Singh Bhandari himself.
The award function was organized with the aim of recognizing and encouraging the perfect work of journalists who focus on labour, employment, and migration within or outside the country. This annual event serves as a source of inspiration for the journalism community, as it provides a platform to celebrate their achievements. The presence of the Minister of Labour, Employment, and Social Security as the chief guest added significance to this year’s prize distribution ceremony. As a result, the event garnered substantial attention, drawing a large audience comprising parents and esteemed invitees. In his closing speech, Mr. Sunil Neupane, Chairman of LEJoG, extended his gratitude to all the individuals who graced the program with their presence. He expressed his appreciation for their participation and support throughout the event. With heartfelt thanks, Mr. Neupane officially declared the program concluded, marking the end of a successful and memorable occasion.