PTH supports the cause of Pakistani journalists whose employers – big, powerful, political and corporate magnates – keep their critical workforce underpaid and thus open to manipulation and vulnerable to economic needs. It is time that an independent Supreme Court provides complete justice to this group. Raza Rumi
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned to
learn of a new effort by Pakistan’s newspaper owners to secure a
judicial order that declares the law on wages and working conditions
in the industry contradicts constitutional freedoms.
According to reports received from the Pakistan Federal Union of
Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, a bench of the High Court of
Sindh in Karachi held one hearing of the petition brought before it
by the All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) and the Herald
Newspapers group yesterday and will resume hearings tomorrow.
“The IFJ is appalled that these long-running stalling tactics by
newspaper owners are obstructing Pakistan’s journalists in their
quest for a fair deal, posing a needless challenge to their
professional security and dignity when they are already under
pressure from the delicate law and order
situation,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
At the centre of the petition is the Newspaper Employees’ (Conditions of
Service) Act which was passed into law by Pakistan’s National Assembly in
1973. The owners have argued that the law, which singles out the newspaper
industry for a statutory determination of wages, is discriminatory and goes
against constitutional provisions on free speech and the liberty of
The PFUJ, through its legal representatives, argues that the law has
been passed by the peoples’ representatives after due deliberation
and embodies the public interest in safeguarding conditions of
service in the newspaper industry, which is more than a commercial
enterprise and serves an essential public function.
According to the PFUJ, owners failed in an earlier effort to approach
Pakistan’s Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional.
The IFJ notes that the Wage Award for journalists was mandated in 2000
and has been very partially implemented by Pakistan’s newspaper
“The protective legislation for Pakistan’s journalists has languished
far too long in official neglect, while newspaper managements have
blocked its most salutary provisions,” White said.
“Pakistan’s newspaper owners must abandon their effort at legal
obstruction and step up with a fair deal for their workers. Only
then can the very serious security challenges facing the media
community in Pakistan, typified by the crisis of safety in the
country’s conflict-prone regions, be
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
*The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries*