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