IFJ Calls on Pakistan’s Media Owners to Pay Up


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands that media owners in Pakistan grant wage rises to their staff immediately, in accordance with Pakistan’s law.


Media personnel across Pakistan, who have been fighting for legally sanctioned wage rises for the newspaper sector for seven years, yesterday continued their campaign by staging another national day of protests, led by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, and the All Pakistan Newspapers’ Employees Confederation (APNEC).


“The situation for many journalists and media workers in Pakistan is dire. They are not only receiving below-award wages, if they secure any payment at all, but the dangers of media work are increasing,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.


Most newspaper owners have refused for seven years to implement the Seventh Wage Award, approved by Pakistan’s National Assembly in October 2001 and backdated to 2000, as stipulated by the Newspapers Employers’ Act (Conditions of Service) 1973. Meanwhile, about 300 journalists and media workers in the print and electronic media have lost their jobs in the past six months, while payment of salaries is commonly delayed, the PFUJ and APNEC said.


The seriousness of the economic hardship imposed on media personnel was tragically underscored in early December when cameraman Mohammad Azam Khan, 26, an employee of Lahore-based Channel 5, committed suicide after his request for some of the wages due to him was refused. Like other station staff, Azam had not been paid for three to four months.


Yesterday, Federal Information Minister Sherry Rehman told protesting media personnel outside the National Assembly in Islamabad that the Government was committed to implement the Wage Award and to address sackings and non-payment of salaries, the PFUJ said.


In Karachi, the Governor of Sindh, Ishratul Ibad, told protesters he would take up these issues with the media organisations concerned.


In Peshawar, the provincial Information Minister, Iftikhar Hussain, told journalists that the provincial government would consider linking government advertising with award implementation and fair working conditions. His comments are in line with PFUJ and APNEC demands that the Federal Government link its allocation of advertising spending with the requirement that news organisations abide by the law and pay their staff on time.


“The IFJ stands in solidarity with its colleagues in Pakistan, who have been fighting long and hard for their rights,” White said.


“We strongly urge Pakistan’s Government to make good on its commitment that it will ensure media owners abide by the law, and that it do so promptly. Fair pay and decent conditions are not only about economic rights – they contribute significantly to the promotion of a quality media that serves the public good.”


For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide