Pakistan Newspapers Seek New Way to Avoid Fair Pay

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of

Journalists (PFUJ), in expressing outrage that the All Pakistan Newspapers

Society (APNS) is claiming newspapers need government financial support, after

nine years of newspaper owners failing to uphold the law and pay their employees

a decent wage.


“All through the recent boom years of

a rapidly expanding media industry in Pakistan, newspaper owners failed

to abide by the law and pay their workers fairly. It is disingenuous for them now

to say they cannot act in accordance with the law because the newspaper

industry would be ruined if workers were fairly paid,” IFJ General

Secretary Aidan White said.


Pakistan’s newspaper owners have strenuously

resisted implementing the Seventh Wage Award for newspaper employees since it came

into force on July 1, 2000.


On May 30, APNES issued a statement claiming

newspaper owners required government assistance to deal with financial difficulties.


Hundreds of “advertisements” have been

placed in newspapers, including on their front pages, to claim that the newspaper

industry would be ruined if the wage award was implemented.


According to PFUJ Secretary General Shamsul

Islam Naz, the statement follows APNS securing billions of rupees worth of federal

tax concessions and cuts in import duties on newsprint over the past nine

years, on the understanding that newspaper owners would transfer the benefits

by implementing the wage award. This had not happened, even as the industry

expanded rapidly in the years preceding the global financial crisis.


Media owners had also raised rates

for advertising placed by the federal and provincial governments and advertising

agencies, as well as the price of their newspapers, while at the same time cutting

the size of papers and increasing their cover price, the PFUJ said.


The IFJ joins the PFUJ in advising Pakistan’s Government

that it demand APNS explain publicly why its members have been unable to fulfil

their legal obligations to implement the wage award and assure their workers of

legitimate benefits all during the boom years.


On June 1, the PFUJ urged the Government

not to succumb to APNS pressure for a bailout package if newspapers continued to

refuse to pay their workers fairly. It warned that if the Government continued

to extend benefits to APNS, Pakistan’s

journalists’ community would launch a country-wide movement against the Government’s



The IFJ is deeply concerned that Pakistan’s journalists

and media workers can barely make a living, even as they are required to work

in locations that are among the most dangerous in the world for media personnel.



further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries