Pakistan’s Newspaper Owners Must End Stalling on Fair Wages

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned to learn of a new effort by Pakistan’s

newspaper owners to secure a judicial order that declares the law on wages and

working conditions in the industry contradicts constitutional freedoms.


According to reports received from

the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, a bench of

the High Court of Sindh in Karachi

held one hearing of the petition brought before it by the All Pakistan

Newspaper Society (APNS) and the Herald Newspapers group yesterday and will

resume hearings tomorrow.


“The IFJ is appalled that these

long-running stalling tactics by newspaper owners are obstructing Pakistan’s

journalists in their quest for a fair deal, posing a needless challenge to

their professional security and dignity when they are already under pressure

from the delicate law and order situation,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.


At the centre of the petition is the

Newspaper Employees’ (Conditions of Service) Act which was passed into law by Pakistan’s

National Assembly in 1973. The owners have argued that the law, which singles

out the newspaper industry for a statutory determination of wages, is

discriminatory and goes against constitutional provisions on free speech and

the liberty of commerce.


The PFUJ, through its legal

representatives, argues that the law has been passed by the peoples’

representatives after due deliberation and embodies the public interest in

safeguarding conditions of service in the newspaper industry, which is more

than a commercial enterprise and serves an essential public function.


According to the PFUJ, owners failed

in an earlier effort to approach Pakistan’s Supreme Court to declare

the law unconstitutional.


The IFJ notes that the Wage Award

for journalists was mandated in 2000 and has been very partially implemented by


newspaper industry.


“The protective legislation for Pakistan’s

journalists has languished far too long in official neglect, while newspaper

managements have actively blocked its most salutary provisions,” White said.


“Pakistan’s newspaper owners must

abandon their effort at legal obstruction and step up with a fair deal for

their workers. Only then can the very serious security challenges facing the

media community in Pakistan,

typified by the crisis of safety in the country’s conflict-prone regions, be

adequately addressed.”



further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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