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Journalists to start protest for wage award today

By A Reporter 2018-04-09
ISLAMABAD: Leaders of journalists’ unions and their colleagues from across the country have started pouring into the federal capital at the call of Afzal Butt group-led Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) to press the government to accept their long-standing demands.

Several political leaders have endorsed their demands pertaining to the constitution of the 8th Wage Board, and legislation for salary structure for electronic media workers and putting an end to the contract system.

According to a statement issued by the PFUJ, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was briefed by Afzal Butt about the protest camp, urged the federal government to look into the problems faced by the journalism community but nothing had been done so far.

Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was also briefed by representatives of the Multan Union of Journalists on Sunday on the issue. He offered his party’s full support to the demands being made by the journalists.

The most pressing demand is formation of the 8th Wage Board by the government under the Newspapers Employees (Conditions of Service) Act 1973. Successive governments since Gen Pervez Musharraf’s regime have failed to fulfil their legal responsibility and due to this, newspapers employees have been receiving salaries which were set in 2000.

Journalists have been raising their voice on the issue for many years but to no avail and this prompted the PFUJ to hold a five-day protest camp outside the Parliament from April 9 (today).

On Saturday, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal refused to allow the journalists to set up a camp in the Red Zone. However, the PFUJ said that it was determined to hold a peaceful protest camp “come what may”.

Till the filing of this report, more than 250 journalists and media workers had arrived in the capital while more will reach on Monday to join the protest.