Pakistani journalists struggling for their rights -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pakistani journalists struggling for their rights

ISLAMABAD- On the “International Press Freedom Day” which was observed all over the world on (May 3) the journalists in Pakistan are still struggling for their basic rights.

C.R. Shamsi, the Senior Vice President and Fauzia Shahid, the Secretary-General of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) along with the Secretary-General of the All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC), Bilal Thaheem, Chairman Local APNEC, Tahir Rathore and Najam Usmani, the secretary General of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of journalists (RIUJ) said that the journalists all over the country are not feeling comfortable and free to work amidst the ever-increasing socio-economic pressure as well as because of the restrictions they face while performing their professional duties.

They said that the unnecessary restrictions on the journalists and even on the newspapers at times prove most disturbing. They said that the successive governments have always promised to resolve the issues concerning the journalists but nothing substantial has been done so far in this respect. They quoted the recent incident in which the government registered a case against over 150 journalists of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for trying to raise voice for their demands is just one example out of many which clearly indicate the amount of pressure and restrictions the journalists face here.

They said that the government announces the Wage Award for the journalists all over the country but except a few leading newspapers establishments no other organisation implements the Wage Award and financial exploitation of journalists could be seen at its worst in those organisations.

They alleged that the journalists are working in these newspaper establishments in worst conditions than even the bonded labour laces because there is always that air of uncertainty about their future hanging like a brazen sword on their heads.

They said that the situation not only leads to the exploitation of the journalists alone but the owners of the newspaper establishments which do apply the Wage Award and care for the self-respect, dignity and professionalism of their employees on their pay-role.

Ishfaq Gondal, the Principal Information Officer (PIO), said that the government immediately reacted to the unfortunate incident which occurred in Islamabad and steps were taken to withdraw the case registered against journalists in the Aabpara Police Station. He said that government is eager to take up the issues concerning journalists and efforts will be made to resolve those amicably.

The office-bearers of the PFUJ, the APNEC and RIUJ had a meeting with Javed Jabbar, the Adviser to the Chief’ Executive on Information, to discuss the issues concerning journalists and the newspaper employees in the country.

Source: The Nation
Date:5/4/2000