HYDERABAD: Body formed to protect journalists’ rights
HYDERABAD- Newsmen of different parts of the province formed the Sindh Journalists’ Organization (SJO) at the first ever journalist’s convention at Sindh level held.
Over 750 journalists from Hyderabad and interior Sindh attended the convention, which was hosted by the Hyderabad Press Club.
A 17-member ad hoc committee was appointed to draft the constitution, get the organization registered and frame rules and regulations for the elections.
The ad hoc committee was asked to complete its work by Dec 31, as the elections of the organization will be held in Jan 2003.
The convention resolved that the SJO would strive to protect the members of the profession from the excesses of the government, local administration, police, political parties and other organizations and also find out ways and means to improve the economic condition of the members of the profession. The organization would also struggle for the freedom of press.
The meeting observed that the journalists were facing economic problems and even could not afford health care. The convention called upon the federal and Sindh government to establish a fund to provide financial assistance to the journalists for their medical treatment. The convention was of the considered opinion that the journalists were denied information, which affected the veracity of the news.
The convention urged the government to promulgate and implement this law so that the journalists could have an easy access to information.
It pointed out that after the introduction of the devolution of power plan, the issuance of declaration for newspapers had been stopped as this power had not been transferred to any government functionary or an elected representative.
The convention urged the government to transfer these powers to some officer or elected representative without delay.
It appealed to the journalists and office-bearers of various press clubs in the province to discard their differences and establish only one press club as the division among the journalists was not in their interest.
The convention observed that the newspaper owners by offering different excuses had frustrated the implementation of the wage board award and they were not prepared to implement the seventh wage board award.
The convention appealed to the newspaper owners to ensure the implementation of the wage board award, abolish the contract system, regularize the services of the employees and provide them facilities under the law. It expressed concern over the registration of cases at some places against some journalists. It urged the Sindh government to hold an impartial and independent inquiry into such cases and order the release of the newsmen who were languishing in jails. It termed the forcible occupation of the Dambalo Press Club by some miscreants.
The convention also unanimously condemned the excesses against journalists of Khairpur Nathan Shah, Johi and Kashmore at the hands of police and other groups. The convention held two sessions. In the first session, the journalists from different districts of Sindh narrated their problems. The second open session was presided over by the general secretary of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Kazi Asad Abid.
Lala Rehman Sammo, Ali Hassan, Ali Kazi, editor, Kawish, Jami Chandio, joint editor, Ibrat, Rasheed Rajar, editor, Koshish and Naz Sehto, editor, Sham, spoke at the session which was largely attended also by the general public.
Speaking on the occasion, veteran journalist I.A Rehman said that although he had been in the profession for 50 years, he had never witnessed such a big gathering of the journalists.
The Indus Theatre Valley also presented a theatre, depicting the state of freedom of expression in the country.