PFUJ asks government to implement labour laws in news channels, newspapers
ISLAMABAD, Nov 3: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has said that it a matter of satisfaction that the nation today is enjoying benefits of a free media, but lamented that the country is facing the wrath of terrorism, intolerance, corruption, and a sea of problems, which are an outcome of the dictatorial rule in the past.
In a statement issued here on Wednesday on the occasion of third anniversary of emergency imposed by former President Pervez Musharraf, the PFUJ said three years ago a dictator in the presence of so-called handpicked civilian government, had sacked about 60 judges and banned private television channels and FM radios and had imposed emergency as he was afraid of growing independence of judiciary and media and wanted to curb both the pillars of the state.
The PFUJ reminded that on Nov. 3, 2007, Musharraf, the dictator, after leveling verbal allegations in the guise of Pemra rules and without a formal inquiry or show cause notice or providing an opportunity of self-defence to the channels, arbitrarily imposed restriction on broadcasts and telecasts.
The PFUJ pointed out that the media in Pakistan had remained in chains for almost 50 years, and faced worst kind of censorship under military rules, and while in the past, successive military and civilian regime banned some of newspapers and magazines, and on Nov 3, 2007, for the first time, all private channels were banned. But as the dictators clamped down on the freedom of expression, they could not deter the PFUJ’s march for freedom. Such a resistance from working journalists is rare and unprecedented in our region. There were no protests demonstrations in India when the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had imposed emergency. Similarly, there was no resistance in Bangladesh against media restrictions. Journalists in Nepal, however, created history by joining hands with political forces and succeeded despite suppression.
The PFUJ said it was very unfortunate that democracy was not allowed to function for more than 35 years out of 63 years since the creation of this country. Even by and large in the civilian rule too the major players of the foreign, financial policy makers were men in uniforms and had not allowed the elected governments to translate their promises as per their commitment to the masses with an objective to undermine the prestige of civilian governments, with full support of the “judiciary, bureaucracy and handpicked media groups”.
It were the working journalists who always opposed black laws and challenged wrath of Martial Laws and laid countless sacrifices, including loss of jobs, and pang of lashes.
Again it is a pride of the PFUJ that it never welcomed clamping of martial law in the country, and never held negotiations with dictators while the media owners always sided with dictators and got numerous benefits.
The PFUJ said that credit goes to the present parliament which for first time in history did not validate the martial law enforced on Nov 3, which is a clear indication that the parliament is no more under the shadows of guns, and intends to retain its sovereignty and supremacy as per aspirations of the masses and wisdom of the framers of the 1973 Constitution.
The PFUJ further stated that the present government had repealed the two amended Ordinances of Nov 3 against the media, and so far there have been no major complaints regarding squeezing of freedom of media. No press advices or notices to TV channels have been issued by Pemra.
However, the government has so far not addressed the core issues confronting newspaper employees, ensuring fair wages, security of jobs, life and constitution of the 8th Wage Board.
At the same time so-called claims of the judicial activism stand belly when the judiciary against all cannons of justice, in league with the media owners virtually made the 7th Wage Board Award ineffective which was supposed to be operative from July 1, 2000, by issuing successive one-sided restraint orders and the same position still persists, which was subjecting media persons to survive in torture amid extremely meager wages fixed on the basis price index of July 1996.
In this situation, the PFUJ urged the government and lovers of democracy, civil society as well as the Chief Justice of Pakistan to save media persons from the wrath of owners in the wake of non-implementation of labour laws, fair wages, job security, safety and legitimate rights
Shamsul Islam Naz
PAKISTAN FEDERAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS
Cellular +92(0)300 8665523