IFJ supports striking newspaper workers in Pakistan

The

International Federation of Journalists stands in solidarity with its affiliate

the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and workers of the English

newspaper-- the Daily Times who are striking this week in protest of the newspaper’s

continued withholding of salary payments.

 

The

situation at the Daily Times escalated on December 10 when two employees at the

newspaper attempted to set themselves alight after their salaries had been

withheld for 11 months. 

 

According to media

reports, receptionist Mohammad Aftab and Sohail Ahmed, a worker in the

newspaper’s information technology department were seen pouring petrol on

themselves on the newspaper premises. Colleagues at the Daily Times snatched

the petrol and match box from them before they had the chance to self-immolate.

 

Following the

incident, staff working in the newspaper’s Islamabad office went on strike.

 

In

a statement, the PFUJ expressed serious concern at the conditions which led to

the attempted suicide of two newspaper workers.  The PFUJ has said it is extremely regrettable that media organizations are

refusing to pay employees.

 

This

recent incident points to a pattern of exploitation of media workers in

Pakistan which is all too common.   The IFJ reported in mid-August on the suicide

of Ms

Semaab, who worked for local Lahore newspaper Daily Anti-Crime following the newspaper management’s persistent

refusal to pay her salary.  In similar

instances, journalists working for Channel 5 and Aaj TV in Pakistan have committed suicide

after being denied salaries for several months.

 

“By

denying salaries to their employees, media organizations are committing severe

human rights violations,” the PFUJ said.

 

The PFUJ called on

all media organizations to pay the salaries owed to their workers on time, claiming

that failure to do so can result in extreme actions.

 

“The

suicide of workers as a result of employees with-holding salaries is deeply

disturbing. It is unacceptable for media houses to create a situation where

workers feel desperate enough to make an attempt on their own lives” said IFJ Asia

Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.”

 

“We

call on the government to step in and hold media houses to account with regards

to their treatment of workers and to pursue legal action against any organisations

who do not comply with their obligations under national and international

laws.”

 

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0918

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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