ISLAMABAD: A protest rally was organised at National Press Club (NPC) by Media Action Force and 4th Pillar Media International. The participating journalist’s groups lit candles in memory of those journalists who were martyred or died under the stress due to non-payment of salaries or layoffs from media houses.
A large number of journalists participated in the event. They chanted slogans against the non-payment of salaries, unjust pay cuts and layoffs by the owners of media houses.
Speaking to the protesting journalist fraternity, President of 4th Pillar Media Farooq Mirza offered free legal services to journalists desiring to take file cases against the owners of media houses. He also promised a Funding Project for Journalists in Crisis. “The suffering employees of the media houses will not be left alone in their struggle to get their rights,” he said.
4th Pillar Media is a press association of journalists based in Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, USA, Pakistan and many other countries.
At the protest rally, the speakers warned of a series of country-wide protests if journalists’ issues were not resolved. They urged various journalistic set-ups to join hands in staging protests over the months-long delay in salaries and pay cuts, as well as forced layoffs.
They emphasized that the government’s silence against the exploitation of employees in Pakistan’s media houses equates to criminal silence and that there is evidence this was being orchestrated in line with behind-the-scenes collusion of union leaders and owners of media houses.
“Those who think that they could suppress the voice of journalists would face the same fate of failure as they had faced in the past,” they said, adding that they were neither afraid of such tactics in the past nor would succumb to undue pressures in future.