IFJ Urges Pakistan to Act on Wage Award for Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in demanding that Pakistan’s judiciary delay no longer in enforcing implementation of the long-stalled wage award for journalists and media workers in Pakistan’s print media.

Leaders of journalists’ unions and media workers from throughout Pakistan staged a big demonstration in front of the Sindh High Court last week as the court was due to deal with a petition challenging the 2000 Seventh Wage Board Award.

The petition, filed by the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), representing newspaper owners, claims the award is discriminatory, and challenges the Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) Act 1973 and establishment of a tribunal to adjudicate award implementation.

APNS has been opposing the award in the courts since 2001. After Pakistan’s Supreme Court dismissed its first challenge in 2004, the owners took their case to the Sindh High Court in 2005, where the case has since languished.

Last week, the court adjourned hearings to November 24 as protesting journalists strongly condemned the failure of courts and authorities to order media owners to act in accordance with the law and implement the award.

Journalists also demanded constitution of the overdue Eighth Wage Board, condemned mass retrenchment of media workers and noted that working conditions were worsening as media personnel worked long hours, often in unsafe conditions, for very low pay.

The PFUJ noted the government was morally and financially patronising the media community, playing the role of a silent spectator under pressure from media owners.

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