Lebanon: Solidarity pledged in face of massive lay-offs and unpaid wages

Lebanese newspapers in a Beirut kiosk. ©Joseph Eid/AFP

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today pledged its urgent solidarity to hundreds of Lebanese journalists who have been sacked, seen their labour rights abused and have not had their salaries paid as a result of the crisis that threatens the country’s media.

As part of an urgent campaign to support Lebanese journalists the IFJ is to organize solidarity actions over the coming weeks.

Due to the current political instability in the region, ten leading media in Lebanon are struggling with serious economic difficulties. In late September, newspaper Al Moustakbal fired 51 journalists, technicians and media workers and announced plans to sack 50 more in the coming months, while newspapers Al Safir and Al-Akhbar fired 49 and 15 workers respectively. Most of their staff have not been paid for more than a year now and are struggling to survive.

In addition, Al Safir has recently informed employees that by the end of 2016 it will close down, putting 120 journalists and media workers jobs at risk. Al Hayat newspaper will also end its printed edition threatening the jobs of a huge number of their journalists working in its Beirut bureau.

The IFJ has also received reports of salary arrears going unpaid and of management pressure to force workers to resign to avoid having to make redundancy payments. During the past twelve months, some journalists who had not been paid tried to find another job to survive but the management of some media forced them to be present for at least 8 hours a day as part of a strategy to push them to resign.

Highly alarmed by the situation, the IFJ stands by Lebanese journalists and urges media owners to pay their employees as a matter of urgency.

“We are appalled by this catastrophic situation our colleagues are suffering in Lebanon,” said IFJ President, Philippe Leruth. “The IFJ, representing 600,000 journalists worldwide, stands by them in these difficult days. We also warn media owners that they will not get away with non-payment of journalists’ salaries and compensations. The IFJ will keep closely following up media freedom and labor rights in the Lebanese media.”

The Federation, which is a conglomerate of national unions, urged journalists to rally together for their rights to be fully respected. 

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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