Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands that media owners in Pakistan grant wage rises to their staff
immediately, in accordance with Pakistan’s
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
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
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.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in
120 countries worldwide