Rashid for finding a via media to end wage award row
KARACHI, January 15 2005: The Federal Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed has asked the newspaper owners and the working journalists to find out a via media for the resolution of Wage Board Award controversy.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the press freedom monitoring desk set up by the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) held at a local hotel on Friday.
Rashid said that he had to strike a balance between the journalist and the newspaper owners and see that the two carry on well.
He said that the government was giving more than its share of advertising funds to big newspapers which was about 80 percent instead of 70 percent and from the remaining funds the other newspapers were being accommodated.
He said that he knew about the dummy papers and it was the responsibility of the CPNE to point out their names. “We will delist them,” he added.
The minister said that the government was committed to freedom of the press and would ensure it was not gagged.
In his brief speech Rashid took an overview of the press in Pakistan and cautioned the newspapers and working journalists to keep an eye on national interest and to work for the solidarity of Pakistan.
The President of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Ahfazur Rehman talked about the poor working condition of newspapers where either the journalists were not being paid properly or were being coerced to indulge in unethical practices.
He said that wage board should be implemented in accordance with the decision of the board and findings of the superior judiciary.
Arif Nizami said that the government was using advertisements as tool to control newspapers. He said that there should be uniform and transparent policy of issuing advertisements to newspapers.
Many speakers who were invited to speak could not do so as some bitter exchange of words and personal criticism forced the organisers to cut short all further discussions.
The press freedom monitoring desk has been set up by the CPNE to check against breach of the norms of the freedom of press.
The desk would receive complaints from the newspapers and the working journalists against government, semi-government and other organisations, which in any way obstruct the smooth functioning of the press.
Source: Business Recorder