Pakistan Media Woes Intensify Amid Closures and Lock-outs

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is

concerned at the sacking of staff at the Islamabad edition of the Daily Aaj Kal and the lock-out of

employees at ROHI TV, which has seen more than 100 journalists and media workers

lose their jobs.

 

The cuts come as the

latest shock to Pakistan’s media industry, as a

rising number of newspapers, journals and broadcasting organisations have

reduced wages, cut jobs or locked out staff in recent times.

 

More than 600 journalists

and other newspaper employees have lost their jobs in the past two and a half

years, according to IFJ affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists

(PFUJ). Many have been dismissed without receiving entitlements as required

under Pakistan’s labour laws.

 

The dismissals come as

newspaper owners continue to strenuously resist implementing the Seventh Wage

Award for newspaper employees, which came into force on July 1,

2000.

 

“The IFJ calls on

Pakistan’s Government to investigate

and act immediately on all breaches of labour laws and ensure that journalists

who lose their jobs are treated with fairness and compassion,” IFJ General

Secretary Aidan White

said

 

More than two dozen media

personnel were sacked from the Islamabad edition of Daily Aaj Kal, published by the Media

Times, owned by Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.

 

When the edition was

launched in February 2009, Taseer promised the paper would be the voice of

moderation and a beacon for those opposing religious extremism, adding that it

would be the first truly independent Urdu newspaper in the capital, according to

the PFUJ.  

 

The sacked staff said the

paper may continue to publish from Lahore, while

news reports from Islamabad and Rawalpindi would be

collected from local news agencies. 

 

Earlier this month, the

Karachi bureau

of Aaj Kal cut its staff of more

than 50 media personnel to just three journalists. The organisation’s Quetta bureau has also lost

six people, according to the PFUJ.

 

In a separate event, ROHI

TV management sacked and locked out more than 90 journalists and other staff,

despite the channel’s good performance and assurances from management that their

jobs would be permanent and secure, according to the

PFUJ.

 

“The loss of more than

100 media jobs this month alone is a blow to Pakistan’s media community. At the

very least, media companies are legally obliged to pay staff fair wages and

entitlements,” White

said.

 

For further information contact IFJ

Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

worldwide