‘Sindh will resolve issues of journalists’
The provincial government of the Pakistan Peoples Party will resolve all the genuine issues of bona fide working journalists in the province on a priority basis, including issuance of a health insurance card to them, said Adviser to the CM on Information and Law Barrister Murtaza Wahab.
Speaking at a media convention at the Karachi Press Club held under the aegis of the Karachi Union of Journalists on Tuesday, Wahab said he would raise the issue of issuance of health insurance cards in the next meeting of the cabinet.
He said that the issue of arrears to be paid to newspapers on account of Sindh government’s advertisements was a very complex matter and soon a committee would be constituted to resolve the issue involving representatives of the Sindh Information and Finance departments and that of other relevant stakeholders.
The committee would be tasked to resolve this issue on an emergency basis. According to Wahab, the chief minister is reviewing the matter related to the land of journalists’ housing scheme in Karachi and soon the issue will be resolved.
Wahab said the PPP had historically always duly protected the rights of journalists and safeguarded the institution of free press in the country. The CM’s adviser added that his father had been a journalist so he thought of himself as a part of the journalists’ community and fully knew the genuine problems of media persons.
He said that the PPP’s Sindh government had always recognised the right of the media to duly criticise the working of the government but at the same time the media was required to highlight good deeds of the government as well.
Also speaking on the occasion, All Pakistan Newspapers’ Society (APNS) Secretary General Syed Sarmad Ali welcomed the decision of the KUJ to organise the media convention. The APNS office-bearer said that the convention had assembled all the sections related to media persons and representatives of media owners under one roof.
Ali said the newspaper industry had been passing through a state of a serious crisis as the publication of newspapers had become a tough task. He said that newspaper organisations had been on the verge of closure causing joblessness among journalists.
Stating that the PPP was a federal level political party, Wahab said that journalists could expect that their issue would be raised on the federal level as well, not just in Sindh. Arrears payable to media houses should be paid at the earliest in order to avoid any further situation of crisis for the institutions of journalism, he said.
Wahab said working journalists and media owners were like riders of the same vehicle as they had been passing through equally precarious situation under the present circumstances. Participants of the convention took the decision to form a joint committee comprising representatives of the concerned journalists’ unions, Karachi Press Club, APNS and Council of Pakistan Newspapers’ Editors, and the Sindh government in order to suggest the way out from the current situation of crisis for the media houses.
The committee will also suggest ways and means to ensure economic viability and improvement of media workers and media houses, including issues related to the Wage Award for journalists and arrears related to government advertisements.