Pakistan: Press Release25 Aug, 2021
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has announced that it does not support
the committee formed for the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA). President PFUJ GM Jamali
and Secretary General Rana Azeem have issued a statement in which they have clearly stated that the
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists is the only organizations that represents all the journalists across
Pakistan, and is the only organization which is affiliated with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
The statement also highlighted the fact that those people who have broken off from the PFUJ for various
vested interests and formed smaller groups, don’t have the PFUJ’s support and are using its name to further
their cause. However, these groups are not recognized or supported by PFUJ or internationally.
It further stated that PFUJ’s President and Secretary General have clearly said that PBA, CPNE, APNS and
AEMND are organizations established by media house owners that only benefit them. These organizations
should tell us what they have done to benefit media workers – which forum have they raised their voice to
speak for the rights of the media workers; what steps have they taken to benefit the workers. Are workers
being given their rights? These organizations do not speak or represent the media workers as they have been
formed to benefit only the media house owners.
The recent Wage Award given to the print media is nothing but a farce; a joke. And this award – the
8th Wage Award – has only been given to a few employees and that too not in its entirety but in meagre
portions. On top of this, it has been given only in a handful of organizations and not across the media.
If the media owners had honestly been thinking about the welfare of the workers, they would have been
getting the 10th Wage Award, not the 8th Wage Award.
The other problem that was highlighted in the statement was that during the Coronavirus Pandemic, the
electronic and print media saw massive layoffs – thousands of people were relieved of their job without
cause. As if that wasn’t enough, they were not even paid their dues even till now – many months afterwards.
A large number of people are still waiting for these dues to be paid.
Thousands of media workers have no means of earning and have nowhere to turn, while the profits and
assets of media house owners are only increasing even in this crisis. On the other hand, people who were
fortunate not to lose their jobs, were forced to take illegal deduction in salaries.
The PFUJ believes that the media house owners want to use the organizations they have created to safeguard
their own interests and make more money at the cost of the workers. They are using the rights of freedom of
speech and freedom of opinion as a ruse to put more pressure on the government and profit from this.
However, the only one being hurt in this are the thousands of media workers who make the industry run.
At present, the PFUJ is scrutinizing the PMDA draft minutely, determined that the right freedom of opinion
is not usurped in any way or by anyone. If attempts are made to take away this right to freedom of opinion
and media, then journalists will be forced like they have in the past to unite and push back against the
forces that are trying to silence them. They will fight to protect their basic rights.
PFUJ will not allow any organization to use the name of the media and journalists for their own vested
political interests, and in the process harming them. It has asked the government to guarantee that the
media and journalists will keep enjoying the basic rights of freedom of media and speech and they won’t
be affect, despite the forming of any authority.