Journalists’ organisations and press freedom groups across the Asia region are joining forces today in demanding the Government of Pakistan increase pressure on newspaper publishers in that country to pay Pakistani journalists their long overdue wage rises under a legally-binding decision handed down three years ago on 8 October 2001.
Co-ordinated by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, and the IFJ Pakistan affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the journalists’ groups are calling on the Government of Pakistan to withhold government advertising from newspapers until the publishers implement the now three-year old Seventh Wage Board Decision for journalists.
A PFUJ delegation has today hand delivered joint letters of protest from the IFJ with signatories from 15 journalists’ organisations from across the Asia-Pacific region to the Government of Pakistan, the All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), calling on the immediate payment of the legally-binding wages.
“The Pakistani newspaper publishers and owners are openly flouting the law and this is totally unacceptable,” said the joint letter from the journalists’ groups to the Government of Pakistan and the newspaper publishers today.
“Both the Government and the publishers need to recognise that the failure to pay the legally-binding wages for journalists is a stain on Pakistan’s labour and human rights record,” the letter said.
“Journalists need the decent wages: not only to feed their families, but for the practice of professional and quality journalism.”
Despite repeated calls by the PFUJ, the National Assembly, Federal Cabinet and the provincial assemblies, newspaper owners across the country have failed to implement the decision handed down on 8 October 2001. Some, mainly regional newspapers, have not even implemented the Sixth Wage Board decision.
Currently Pakistan journalists are working under terrible conditions, with the majority without formal appointment letters or working on an illegal contract basis where there is no job security.
Meanwhile the newspaper owners are receiving Government concessions including relaxation of the duty on the import of newsprint and a 200% increase in Government newspaper advertising.
The joint letter delivered to the APNS and the CPNE says: “The journalists of the world are calling for the newspaper owners and publishers in Pakistan to act in the interests of genuine freedom of the press in Pakistan by implementing the Seventh Wage Board Decision.”
“Whilst Pakistani journalists work in conditions of poverty, there can never be a truly free and independent media in Pakistan.”
For further information, please contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries