IFJ Says "Two Years Too Long to Wait for Pakistan's Underpaid Journalists"

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is calling on Asia journalists’ organisations to join an international day of protest over the continued delay in the implementation of a two-year old wage decision for Pakistani journalists.

Newspaper owners have failed to implement Pakistan’s Seventh Wage Board decision, which was handed down on 8 October 2001.

This means that newspaper employees are still receiving the wages that were fixed by the Sixth Wage Board decision, handed down eight years ago.

“Two years is two years too long to wait for Pakistan’s suffering underpaid journalists,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said today.

“It’s time journalists in Pakistan received fair wages for their work and we are again calling on the immediate implementation of the Seventh Wage Board decision for journalists,” says the IFJ.

The IFJ has sent letters of protest to the President and Minister of Information Broadcasting of Pakistan, the All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), voicing its concern over the continuing delay in implementing the Seventh Wage Board decision and requesting them to implement the recommendations as set out by the IFJ affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists. It has asked its affiliates to follow suit and protest the delay today.

The newspapers owners are bound by the Wage Board decision as stipulated by the Newspapers Employers Act (Condition of service) 1973. On 8 October 2001, representatives of both employers and employees unanimously agreed upon the Seventh Wage Board decision.

The second anniversary of the decision is set to pass and still newspaper owners are yet to implement the decision, while some, mainly regional newspapers, have not implemented the Sixth Wage Board decision, despite repeated calls from the national assembly, provincial assemblies and the PFUJ to do so.

Currently Pakistan journalists are working under terrible conditions, with the majority without formal appointment letters or working on an illegal contract basis where there is no job security.

Meanwhile the newspaper owners are receiving Government concessions including relaxation of the duty on the import of newsprint and a 200% increase in Government newspaper advertising.

“The fact that the Government of Pakistan is rewarding the newspaper fat cats while they blatantly disregard labour rights and the decisions of the Wage Board is difficult for journalists to swallow,” said the IFJ President.

“Worse still is the fact that this case has dragged on for over two years. Clearly, the newspaper owners are banking on the idea that the workers will just give up and go away.”

“And that is just not going to happen,” said Warren today.

For further information, please contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668.