IFJ Stands in Solidarity With Sacked Media Workers in Pakistan

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed

by the sackings of media personnel at television stations and newspapers across

Pakistan and calls on media

owners to treat their workers with respect and to abide by Pakistan’s

labour laws.

 

The Pakistan Federal Union of

Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, reports that hundreds of journalists and media

workers in all major cities of Pakistan

have been sacked with little warning since the beginning of the year. Many retrenched

workers have received no explanation or been told their retrenchment is due to “financial

constraints”.

 

Complaints about abrupt sackings

have been received from workers at television stations Dawn News, News One,

Channel 5, Aaj, GEO and Samaa, as well as Aaj

Kal, Daily Jinnah Khabrian, the Post, Alsharq and the Pakistan

Observer newspapers.

 

The PFUJ notes that the sackings

contravene the provisions of the Newspaper Employees’ Service Conditions Act, Pakistan labour

laws and the International Labour Organisation’s conventions. It condemns the

retrenchments as cruel and stresses that media workers are already being

exploited through the failure of media owners to implement the Seventh Wage

Award, in accordance with the law.

 

The PFUJ will lead countrywide

rallies on April 7 to protest the retrenchments.   

 

“The IFJ stands firmly with all Pakistan’s journalists and media

workers in condemning these abrupt and unjust sackings of media personnel,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

 

“This kind of short-term response to financial constraints poses

a threat not only to journalists’ livelihoods but to diversity of information

and freedom of expression. Owners should be encouraging investors to recognise

that their interests lie in companies that invest in their staff, not those

that slash employment for short-term cost savings.”

 

The IFJ draws the attention of Pakistan’s media owners to

the February

2009 Hong Kong Declaration, in which leaders of journalists’ associations

and trade unions from across Asia-Pacific, attending an IFJ regional meeting on

the global financial crisis, urged media houses to recognise that drastic

cost-cutting only leads to a vicious downward spiral, in which media companies,

workers and the wider public suffer.

 

The declaration calls on media owners to work with labour

organisations to protect the rights, security and living conditions of media workers,

and to devise and implement appropriate measures for sustaining quality media

businesses during times of financial hardship.

 

“We urge media executives to invest in the future of

journalism by building new audiences and wisely managing the introduction of

new technologies and tools that allow journalists to tell their stories in new

ways. News executives need vision and courage to do this,” the declaration

said.

 

For

further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents over

600,000 journalists in 120 countries