ISLAMABAD: PFUJ submitted 19-point charter of demands to federal government and urged to take urgent measures for revival of media industry and ensure freedom of press.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist has submitted its 19-point charter of demands to the federal government ahead of its already announced long march this month from Quetta to Islamabad.
The charter of demands urged the federal and provincial governments to take urgent and solid measures for the revival of media industry and for safeguarding the rights of working journalists and media workers, who are faced with retrenchments, layoffs, financial hardships and threats to life and property, besides victim of unchecked pandemic of coronavirus as they are frontline workers.
The charter of demands said freedom of press, speech in the country has been compromised due to authoritarian tactics, arm twisting and use of draconian laws to suppress media and voices in the country. PFUJ President Shehzada Zulfiqar in his statement said, “We are faced with a situation where freedom of expression is at threat and journalists’ safety is challenged by physical and virtual attacks. The industry is also in a financial crisis”.
A comprehensive charter of demands called for an immediate meeting of all the stakeholders of media industry so that this crucial and important industry could be saved from further damage as meeting is urgent need of the hour.
“Federal government should immediately call/arrange a meeting of all the stakeholders of media industry (owners, representatives of PFUJ and ministry of information and broadcasting and representatives of information departments of all the provinces including AJK and GB to chalk out a comprehensive consensus plan to solve the financial crisis in the media industry”.
The PFUJ charter of demands urged the federal and provincial governments to direct owner of the media house houses to immediately halt the process of uncalled for retrenchments, layoffs, pay cuts, denial of salaries and dues of journalists and media workers who are worst victim of current ill-conceived and ill- designed policies for media industry which seems to be designed for controlling media and suppressing voices. “Even the regional newspapers of different language have been made victim of the policies of federal and provincial governments through denial of advertisement quota” PFUJ president said.
It called for immediate restoration of advertisement quota of regional press in all the four provinces and Azad Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, besides immediate implementation of 8th Wage Board Award announced in 2019.
“The government should immediately create effective mechanisms for the implementation of 8th Wage Board Award, including making government advertisements conditional with its implementation. And similar services structure for electronic and digital media should be created and implemented across all media categories besides balanced and merit based advertisement policy” the charter of demands submitted by PFUJ urged.
The charter of demands dealt with all the confronting issues from safety and security of the journalists and media workers, demands for arresting criminals and killers of journalists, reopening of cases of US journalist Denial Pearl, and Geo News reporter Wali Babar, and urged to direct police, FC, and other law-enforcement agencies working in all provinces, AJK and GB to provide safety and security to life and property of journalists and media workers across the country which is responsibility of the state and state functionaries.
Shehzada Zulfiqar called for ensuring press freedom and freedom of speech and expression and urgent revisiting of all the laws, rules and regulations which are being misused for media gagging and for intimidating journalists and media workers in the country. “We demand for revisiting Article 19 of the Constitution which provides unwanted restrictions on media and Pakistan Electronic Crime Act (PECA 2016) with the consultation of stakeholders” he added.
The 19-point charter of demands of PFUJ demanded that since journalists and media workers are working day and night since arrival of COVID-19 like medical workers as frontline workers and many of the journalists and media workers lost their lives since last year, therefore they should be declared top priority group for receiving corona vaccine.
“Journalists and media workers are victims of terrorism, crime and coronavirus and they should be paid compensation of Rs20 lakh per person/family and besides education and health facilities and soft loans and comprehensive financial package on the format of financial packages announced for workers of other industrial sector” Shehzada Zulfiqar said.
PFUJ reiterated that it considers itself as the guardian of press freedom and free speech in Pakistan and will never compromise on its principled stand. We will continue our struggle till the achievement of this goal. PFUJ is also committed for the safety and security of the journalists/media workers and will take uncompromised stand for the community, it concluded.
Source: The News