IFJ Outraged Over Harassment of Union Leader in Pakistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, today expressed its outrage over the harassment and victimisation of Pakistan journalist Makhdoom Bilal Aamir by his employer News Network International (NNI) because of his union activities.


“It is a disgrace that our colleague in Pakistan has been victimised for defending the basic social and economic rights of his co-workers,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren today.


According to information from the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the IFJ’s affiliate in Pakistan, Makhdoom Bilal Aamir has been victimised by NNI for his membership of both the PFUJ and the NNI Workers’ Union; for the key role he has played in the campaign to implement the 7th Wage Board Decision; and his efforts to ensure that his employer provides better working conditions and economic rights to his fellow workers.


The IFJ condemns the actions taken by the NNI and welcomes the Lahore Labour Court’s temporary order restraining the NNI from dismissing Mr. Bilal based on his union activities.


The IFJ in a letter to the Prime Minister has asked the Government of Pakistan to intervene in the case and defend Mr. Bilal’s right to carry out union activities. The IFJ has reminded the Government of Pakistan of its international obligations to protect workers’ rights to organise and freedom of association as enshrined by the ILO Convention C87 ratified by Pakistan in 1951.


“Journalists like Bilal, who continue to fight for the betterment of their profession, cannot continue to become the target of their employer’s wrath. It will only lead to a media entrenched with fear and self-censorship,“ said Warren.


Background Information:

The Seventh Wage Board Decision, agreed unanimously on by employers and employees on 8 October 2001, has not been implemented by newspaper owners despite the decision being legally binding as stipulated by the Newspapers Employers Act (Condition of Service) 1973.


The newspaper owners’ failure to implement the decision has meant thousands of newspaper employees are not receiving their due wages and have been deprived of medical and other facilities entitled to them by law.


The IFJ, in various letters to the Government of Pakistan, has repeatedly called on the Government to implement the Seventh Wage Board Decision and constitute the Eighth Wage Board, which the IFJ insists should be for three years instead of five.


For further information, please contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists worldwide



The IFJ has protested to the Government of Pakistan in the following letter:


2 August 2004

Chaudhry Shujat Hussain

Prime Minister

Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Via email: president_pml@msn.com

Via fax: +92-51-2262221

CC. Shaikh Rashid Ahmad

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting

Islamic Republic of Pakistan


Via email:

">infominister@pak.gov.pk<br>


Via fax: 9203740


Dear Sir,


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned over the reported victimisation of Makhdoom Bilal Aamir, Lahore Bureau Chief by his employer News Network International (NNI) because of his union activities.


According to information from the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the IFJ’s affiliate in Pakistan, Makhdoom Bilal Aamir has been victimised by NNI due to his union activities. According to our information, Bilal was victimised from his membership of both the PFUJ and the NNI Workers’ Union, and the key role he has played in the campaign to implement the 7th Wage Board Decision and his efforts to ensure that his employer provide better working conditions and economic rights to his fellow workers.


The IFJ condemns the actions taken by the NNI and welcomes the Lahore Labour Court’s decision temporarily restraining the NNI from dismissing Mr. Bilal.


The IFJ asks the Government of Pakistan to intervene in the case and defend Mr Bilal’s right to carry out union activities. The IFJ respectfully reminds the Government of Pakistan of its international obligations to protect workers’ rights to organise and freedom of association as enshrined by ILO Convention C87 ratified by Pakistan in 1951.


Yours sincerely




Christopher Warren

President

International Federation of Journalists


Recommended action:


Send appeals:


  • Condemning the harassment of Makhdoom Bilal Aamir by NNI for his union activities

  • Welcoming the temporary decision by Lahore Labour court restraining NNI from dismissing Makhdoom Bilal Aamir

  • Calling for Government of Pakistan to intervene and defend Makhdoom Bilal Aamir’s right to carry out union activities.


    Appeals:

    Chaudhry Shujat Hussain

    Prime Minister

    Via email: president_pml@msn.com

    Federal Minister Information and Broadcasting

    Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

    Via Email: infominister@infopak.gov.pk

    For more information please contact IFJ Asia at ifj@ifj-asia.org

    Please copy appeals to the IFJ Asia Office at ifj@ifj-asia.org