Karachi, May 15, 2022: The Federal Executive Council (FEC) of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed serious concerns over the continued political and economic turmoil in the country, which may lead to the denial of human rights and freedom of press and expression in Pakistan.
The three-day meeting of the FEC took up heavy agenda that included its concerns over the freedom of press and expression, issues pertaining to the media industry, problems being faced by the journalists and media workers across the country, especially implementation of the 8th wage board award. The FEC also expressed its desire to restore pay cuts imposed during financial crisis in 2019 and during Covid-19 in 2020, besides it brainstormed the black media law, Pakistan Media Development Authority, and amendments in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016.
The FEC meeting called upon the newly installed government to pay immediate attention on resolving the political and economic issues because if not addressed urgently by all the stakeholders, these could threaten the democratic process in the country and the freedom of press will be its first casualty.
The FEC adopted three resolutions at the end of the meeting that relate to (1) government-media relationship, (2) violence against journalists and (3) the worst working conditions in media industry due to the non-implementation of labour laws and the lawful acts such as the 8th wage board award.
While adopting a resolution on the government-media relations, the prime media body of the country thought that all the successive governments since long, have designed and implemented two dozens of black laws for media gagging in general, and to suppress journalists in particular. However, it asserted that the PFUJ remained determined and will remain in the forefront to resist any such laws in future to ensure the freedom of press and expression in the country. The FEC also noted with concern that the government-media relations got worsened during the previous regime of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by its Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, therefore, they want the current coalition government to ensure fulfillment of their promises and commitments made at the very outset. PFUJ’s FEC also demanded immediate repeal of all black laws, independence of PEMRA and meaningful dialogue with all the stakeholders and the government.
In another resolution adopted by the FEC, it expressed alarm over the rising trends of violence against the journalists, which is not only confined to attacks and killing of journalists and media workers across the world, including Pakistan, but also sharp increase in the harassment incidences, particularly of the women journalists and their families. PFUJ also took strong exception to the continued accusation of former Prime Minister in his public speeches and urged him to prove his allegations; otherwise, he should withdraw fabricated and concocted accusations and tender public apology. The PFUJ’s FEC also expressed concern over journalists’ impunity, as despite its years old demand, the previous government did not appoint Special Public Prosecutors for the speedy trial of journalists’ murder cases.
In the last adopted resolution, the FEC expressed anger over the worst working conditions in media houses, which are a serious violation of the 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, labour laws, as well as the international conventions. It demanded an independent audit of the media industry, and special labour inspection of the media houses to find out the working conditions, retrenchment of thousands of employees in violation of the law and even without clearing their dues. PFUJ reminded the government that its advertisements should be linked to the working conditions and implementation of the wage award as per the recommendations of Chairman of the 6th Wage Board.
The Federal Executive Council of PFUJ decided to hold its Biannual Delegation Meeting (BDM) from 22nd to 24th of July 2022, in Lahore to elect its new body.