Massive retrenchments in media organizations journalists boycott National Assembly session.
ISLAMABAD: Journalists covering the National Assembly (NA) session on Tuesday staged a token walk out and boycott the proceeding against firing of journalists by some newspaper and TV channels. Soon after the recitation from the Holy Quran, the journalists walked out from the press gallery and gathered at the press lounge to protest, what they said, the inhuman attitude of some of the media groups.
Information Minister Sherry Rehman, State Minister for Education Ghulam Farid and PML-N lawmaker Hanif Abbasi came to the press lounge and persuaded the protesting journalists to end their boycott, assuring them that government would fulfill their demands. Journalists said that the owners of some newspapers and news channels are firing their employees without giving their dues and some of them are not paying salaries for the last many months.
They demanded of the government to ensure implementation of resolutions passed by the NA for protection of working journalists. They also demanded to implement 7th Wage Board Award, pending for the last many years. Sherry asked the journalists to give her the detailed information about their complaints and assured them to contact the concerned owners to stop firing of journalists and resolving of other issues.
She, however, said that the owners are also excusing that due to financial crunch they are laying off some staff. Later, she informed the House that the present government is pursuing a liberal media policy. She said that a meeting of the tri-lateral commission was held recently to consider issues relating to Wage Board Award and end-February was given a dateline for implementation of 7th Wage Board Award.
About the suspension of a TV channel’s transmission, she said the channel was allowed test transmission without license provisionally but the channel neither applied for license not deposited the requisite fee. Sherry said under the regulatory framework, government could not allow channels without payment of license fee. Hanif Abbasi, PML-N lawmaker said that Governor Punjab Salman Taseer had terminated a number of employees from his TV channels and newspapers.
Source: Business Recorder