Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A deadly year for media workers

Pakistan Observer

A deadly year for media workers

Islamabad—The year 2010 proved another deadly year for media practitioners of Pakistan who were callously neglected by media owners, viz-a-viz fair wages, job security, life insurance, training, capacity building, while they were increasingly targeted by terrorists and pressure groups.In blasts, suicide attacks, target killing, firing and other incidents at least 18 media related employees lost their lives, during the year which is highest ever figure in the history of Pakistan since its creation.

In its annual report for the year 2010, highlighting “the plight of Pakistani media persons,” the main representative body of the print and electronic media, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), observed that in 2010 too media persons in Pakistan remained under clutches of “media owners” and were forced to work without basic amenities, including provision of clean drinking water, medical facilities, life insurance, security gadgets, wash-rooms, an unbiased gender policy, training for working in a hostile environment round-the-clock.

While media persons were employed on contract basis and deprived of benefits of provident fund, gratuity, pension, and no increase was made in their wages since July 1996.A review of the year suggested that like preceding years, from 1996 to onwards, media persons were continuously denied their legitimate benefits by the owners, including a conducive working environment, security of job, wages under a government announced wage board and an unbiased gender policy, and the contract system introduced in media organisations by the media owners for media persons was not abolished.

As there was no protection to life, media persons continued to work under stress, and at least 16 media related employees lost their lives while at least 327 were wounded, tortured, and extended threats by government agencies in Balochistan; over 238 media persons were implicated in cases, and about 800 media persons were sacked by their employers.—APP

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