ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Wednesday said that the federal government will resolve media workers’ issues through a journalists’ protection law.
Firdous Ashiq Awan, while briefing the Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, said the government was holding consultations with the stakeholders over journalists’ issues.
She added that the owners of media houses will be contacted in light of the recommendations tabled by the journalist organisations.
While apprising the Senate body, Awan said the government was accountable to the nation and it was the prime responsibility of the government to find the solution to the media crisis.
“It is necessary to listen to both sides. Media owners have not established a service structure after appointing employees. Whenever needed, the private organisation receives services of a person and later terminates its employees. Amendments in PEMRA [Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority] regulations are essential to resolve the issues to journalists.”
She spotted imbalances in the salaries of employees in different media houses due to non-availability of a service structure, whereas, some entities used the third party for the appointment of workers. She continued that the government is going to resolve issues through reformations in journalist protection laws.
Moreover, the special assistant apprised the details of payments released to the media organisations.
She said the government has made payments of Rs873.1 million to media organisations, including Rs576.6 million to print media and Rs290 million to electronic media. She added that the total dues to the print media are Rs830 million and Rs167.6 million to electronic media.
Senator Pervaiz Rasheed asked the media houses to immediately release the pending salaries of the journalists from the payments issued by the federal government.
The Senate body summoned the owners of media houses, officials of the Finance Ministry and representatives of Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) to discuss the issues of non-payment of salaries to the journalists.