IFJ, PFUJ urge media owners to immediately pay held up salaries
By Tanveer Abbas
Journalists in Pakistan are facing financial instability with several working journalists not being paid salaries for over several months while others have had their salary cut between 10-40 per cent in the past six months, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said in a statement on Thursday.
The IFJ said that it stands with its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in demanding media houses to immediately pay outstanding wages, and called on the government to take action to resolve the growing financial instability, according to the press release uploaded on the official website of IFJ
“The issue of withheld salaries was raised as early as February 2019 and remains an on-going issue. On February 1, journalists from Geo News staged protests in newsrooms across Pakistan demanding unpaid salaries. They also launched strikes, which came after several months waiting for salary payments. While journalists at Dawn have had their salaries cut between 10-40 per cent in the past six months. Similarly, Dawn journalists held country-wide protests against the salary cuts and mass layoffs,” it said.
Meanwhile, PFUJ President GM Jamali and Secretary-General Rana Azeem condemned the delayed salaries for the media workers.
The PFUJ has also demanded of the government to take the issue seriously and ensured that the pending salaries were paid immediately.
“As the Pakistani media is going through an extremely tough time with increased pressure from anti-democratic forces that are trying to silence the media, financial pressures are only adding to this. If the pending salaries are not resolved immediately, we will be forced to call for a nationwide go-slow protest followed by a ‘shutter down’ protest,” PFUJ President GM Jamali said in a statement.
The IFJ said: “We stand in solidarity with the PFUJ and our colleagues in Pakistan in demanding action for the ongoing financial instability that they are facing. Journalists must be paid for their work, and we demand those withholding wages to immediately rectify the situation.”
Sources told The Punch that Geo TV has not paid salaries of employees for the last four months, Channel 24 for the last four months while Nawa-e-Waqt Group has not paid salaries for the last six months.
According to sources, while clearing dues in June, the government had bound, via an affidavit, that media owners including Geo and Nawa-e-Waqt and other groups would clear pending salaries. However, none of the media owners kept the promise and did away with the money by paying only a one-month salary. According to sources Nawa-e-Waqt Managing Director Ramiza Majid only cleared the pending salary for the month of last December and since the start of the year, she has not paid even a single salary.
According to journalists and sources, only three channels, Hum TV, Dawn Group, Business Recorder and Sama TV are regularly paying salaries to their employees while the rest of channels have been delaying payment of salaries from two to six months.