PFUJ to observe Oct 13 as Black Day against retrenchment of media-persons
ISLAMABAD, Oct 10 (APP): The supreme body of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) - Federal Executive Council (FEC) - on Sunday decided to observe Oct 13 (Wednesday) as black day across the country against massive retrenchment in various media houses.Addressing a press conference after the meeting of FEC, PFUJ President Pervez Shaukat said that it has been decided that all the affiliated unions would hold demonstrations in their respective areas and press clubs by wearing blackstripes on arms and display black flags at top of their offices. He said that alljournalistic bodies would observe Oct 13 as black day.
Train march would be conducted from Karachi to Islamabad while sit-in wouldbe staged outside parliament till the assurance from the owners of media organizations to restore the sacked journalists on their previous positions. The FEC demanded for the enhancement of the wages in consonance with the prevalent price hike and inflation. The meeting noted with concern that the seventh wage award which was supposed to be operative from July 1, 2000, has not yet been implemented. During the last 16 years the wages of the federal and provincial governments and even private sector have increased manifold and recently 50 per cent increase has been given to the government employees. The media workers are still drawing the wages at the rate fixed on July 01, 1996. He said that the meeting observed that the media houses have not implemented the labour laws, providing job security indicating job description, life security, compensation in the wake of disability, death and other eventualities. The meeting demanded that all the media workers should be provided with the requisite security gears and other paraphernalia while performing their assignments, he maintained. The meeting noted with concern that the working conditions for media persons in conflict zones especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and FATA have become dangerous and the killing of the media persons have become the order of the day. It also noted that over 162 media persons had already lost their lives while performing their assignments since 2000 in the country , which is the highest around the world after Iraq . It castigated the indifferent approach of the media owners towards the life threat faced by the media persons due to which the precious lives of the media men remains at stake. It also noted that in majority of the cases whereby the media persons lost their lives, the concerned investigation agencies have not brought the culprits to the book yet. In a resolution, the FEC called for implementation of the 7th Wage Board Award, constitution of 8th Wage Board, provision of life security, job protection, and financial compensation to the families of the victims. The meeting also called upon the Prime Minister to fulfill his commitment for launching the countrywide life insurance scheme for the media persons, victim fund, allocation a piece of land for the establishment of PFUJ secretariat in Islamabad and financial assistance for the establishment of endowment fund. The meeting also pointed out the proposal for the establishment of housing colonies for the working media persons in parts of the country, registration of media persons under EOBI and WWF, and provision of security gear for the media persons. The meeting also decided for capacity building programmes, holding series of seminars and workshops for creation of awareness on current global and national issues with regard to reporting in conflict zones. Pervaiz Shaukat said that the meeting decided for formulation of a gender policy, setting up of female group for evolving strategy to ensure conducing environment for the females, enhancement of their professional skills besides protecting their rights. The meeting condemned the employing of contract system both in electronic and print media and termed the menace as a calculated move to deprive the media persons from their legitimate basic financial right. The PFUJ also decided to organize its bodies at all the major media centersand also accorded affiliation to Gujranawala Union of Journalists, while Hyderabadad Union of Journalists and Multan Union of Journalists have been revived. It also decided to enhance the membership of PFUJ with the aim to boost the ongoing campaign for the implementation of wage award and other rights of the media community. The PFUJ reiterated that it would continue its struggle for upholding theprinciples of rule of law, humanity, democracy, supremacy of the constitution and made it clear that it will not allow anyone to sabotage the civilian democratic set up. It made also clear that PFUJ firmly believes in responsible journalism andstrongly advocates to not to compromise on basic principle for the right to know. It would not become part of any willful malicious campaign by any party or group. The PFUJ President said a Labour Convention would be organized in the Federal Capital with the collaboration of various organizations to devise a joint action plan with regard to non-payment of salaries to the journalists as well their other concerns. He urged the Standing Committee on Information to take PFUJ into confidencewhile introducing amendments in Code of Ethics. He said the draft of Press Complaint Commission was being formulated that would be presented to the Ministry of Information for legislation. During the meeting a report of PFUJ’s funds and expenditure was also presented which the house had approved.