Wednesday, October 13, 2010

IFJ disturbed over Mass Sacking at Nawa-I-Waqt Media Group in Pakistan

IFJ disturbed over Mass Sacking at Nawa-I-Waqt Media Group in Pakistan

Islamabad; Oct. 13 :-he International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply disturbed over reports of a mass retrenchment by the Nawa-i-Waqt media group in Pakistan. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, has reported that an estimated 170 journalists and media workers have in recent weeks lost their jobs in the news organisation.

At a recent meeting in Pakistan’s national capital of Islamabad, the Federal Executive Council, the highest deliberative body of the PFUJ, sharply condemned the move by the Nawa-i-Waqt management, which had built its reputation and its fortunes on the back of the tireless and dedicated work of its staff over many decades.

The Nawa-I-Waqt group publishes an Urdu daily of the same name, and an English language daily The Nation. The group has a strong presence in the magazine sector and owns the Waqt TV news channel. The 170 media persons to be retrenched by the news organisationwere employed across the group’s various operations and were concentrated in the major centres of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Multan.

The grounds for the mass retrenchment, according to the PFUJ, are unconvincing. Some of the personnel have been told, falsely, that they have attained the age of superannuation, while the affected staff of the Waqt TV channel have been given the alibi of mounting operational losses.

The PFUJ informs the IFJ that the retrenchments violated the mandatory requirements of fair process in terms of notice period and appropriate levels of compensation.

“The IFJ deplores this latest manifestation of unfair labour practices in the Pakistan media sector,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.

“Job insecurity has been a malaise for Pakistan’s journalists for most of the past decade, with estimates of 1,500 staff members losing their jobs since 2001.”

“We extend our support and solidarity to the PFUJ in their effort to highlight the growing threats to professional security. We fully share our affiliate’s concern that media freedom itself is endangered by the tendency for media organisations to make journalists the first targets in situations of economic downturn”.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Shamsul Islam Naz
Secretary General
Cellular +92(0)300 8665523

+92(0)321 8665523

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