Monday, October 11, 2010

Geo set to downsize in Karachi

Geo set to downsize in Karachi
KARACHI: Just when one would imagine that the media in Pakistan is settling down and getting over staffing upheavals, it has been reliably learnt that Geo Television is all set to boot out 80 or more staff at their Karachi headquarters.

According to a senior Geo reporter, who happens to be on a confirmed list of those getting the sack, notices will be issued to those affected very shortly.

The list of those reportedly facing termination include reporters, producers, assistant producers, support and technical staff.

“It seems that setbacks in revenue and budget constraints have led to the decision by the management,” said one producer who did not want to be named.

Geo has always prided itself in retaining its staff come what may to the extent that some employees were made to sign two year bonds that prevented staff from jumping ship. However, in recent times there has been a mini exodus from Geoto other channels and the management made no effort to retain staff that wanted to leave.

“I’m already looking for another job,” said one reporter mournfully, “but of course I don’t expect to get the salary I was getting at Geo. I guess I will have to take whatever I get.”

A female producer said: “I was planning to get married later this year, but I guess that will have to be put off a bit as both my husband to be as well as I have learnt that we are on the termination list.”

“I’m not surprised,” said one print media journalist while enjoying lunch at the Karachi Press Club. “These guys have been getting overpaid for a long time. Now it’s time for them to get a taste of what other journalists are facing. Some of these guys were getting salaries that barely went over Rs.20,000 before they managed to job jump from one channel to another. Now many of them earn over Rs.150,000 and above. Let’s see how they will handle this development.”

In the past year or so DawnNews, CNBC, Samaa, Aaj, Dunya and Express have all downsized. The trend is expected to continue, say insiders. “There’s no revenue coming in, so how can the management turn a blind eye to the situation. It had to happen.”

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