May 17, 2022
KARACHI—The Federal Executive Council (FEC) of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed serious concerns about continued political and economic turmoil in the country that could lead to denial of human rights and freedom of the press and expression.
The FEC took up the following heavy agenda:
FEC urged the newly installed government led by Shehbaz Sharif (pictured) to pay immediate attention to resolving political and economic issues. If not addressed seriously and urgently by all the stakeholders, these could threaten the democratic process, and press freedom would be its first casualty.
FEC adopted three resolutions relating to the government-media relationship, violence against journalists, and worst working conditions in the media due to non-implementation of labor laws and lawful acts as the 8th Wage Board Award.
While adopting a resolution on government-media relations, FEC believed that for long, all the successive governments have designed and implemented two dozen black laws to gag media and suppress journalists. However, PFUJ will remain at the forefront of resisting such rules to ensure freedom of press and expression.
Government-media relations worsened during the previous regime led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Therefore the current coalition government has to fulfill promises and commitments made at the outset. PFUJ's federal council demanded the immediate repeal of all black laws, independence of PEMRA, and meaningful dialogue of all the stakeholders and government.
In another adopted resolution, FEC expressed alarm over rising violence against journalists. It includes attacks and killing of journalists and media workers worldwide, including in Pakistan. There is a sharp rise in harassment incidences, particularly the women journalists and their families. PFUJ took strong exception to the former prime minister's continued accusation against the media in his public speeches and urged him to prove his allegations or withdraw them and apologize.
FEC also expressed concern over the massive delay in appointing special public prosecutors for speedy trials of journalists' murder cases.
In the last adopted resolution, FEC was astonished over the worst working conditions in media houses, a severe violation of the 1973 constitution, labor laws, and international conventions. It demanded an independent audit of the media industry and a special labor inspection of news organizations to find out the prevailing working conditions, reducing thousands of employees in violation of law and even without clearing their dues.
PFUJ reminded the government that advertisements should be linked to working conditions and wage award implementation as per the chairman's recommendations of the 6th Wage Board.
The Federal Executive Council decided to hold its biannual delegation meeting (BDM) from July 22 to 24 in Lahore to elect its new body.
Photo: Twitter (@CMShehbaz)
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