Islamabad, January 1, 2011
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has termed the year 2010 as one of the worst in the History of Pakistan which ushered into a grave yard for media related employees as 19 media persons lost their lives in target killing, bomb blasts, floods and suicidal attacks which is highest in this year in whole world.
According to the PFUJ as there was no protection of life, media persons continued to work under stress, and at least 19 media related employees lost their lives while at least 327 were wounded, tortured, and threatened by government agencies in Baluchistan. Over 238 media persons were implicated in criminal cases.
The year also witnessed record retrenchments of over 1500 media related employees including 850 media practitioners in the electronic and print media of Pakistan, without any legal formalities and payments of the legitimate dues.
The PFUJ further pointed out that despite heavy casualties of the media persons during performing the professional assignments the media houses have not taken any measures for their safety and training.
The brutality of the media tycoons can be judged from this hard fact alone that even cell phones and petty equipments are duty insured but they never bothered to realize the importance of human life which is far costlier than any material objects; and, did not care to provide insurance to media persons working in the hostile environments in the conflict zones.
The PFUJ further contended that the year 2010 proved another deadly year for media practitioners of Pakistan who were callously deprived by media owners of legitimate and fair wages, job security, life insurance, training, capacity building, while they were increasingly targeted by terrorists and pressure groups.
Highlighting ‘the plight of Pakistani media persons’ in the main representative body of the print and electronic media, the PFUJ observed during the whole preceeding year, media persons in Pakistan remained under clutches of ‘media owners’ and were forced to work without basic amenities including provision of clean drinking water, medical facilities, life insurance, security gadgets, wash-rooms, an unbiased gender policy, training for working in a hostile environment round-the-clock while media persons were employed on contract basis and deprived of benefits of provident fund, gratuity, pension, and no increase was made in their wages since July 1996.
‘A review of the year suggested that like the preceding years, from 1996 onwards, media persons were continuously denied their legitimate benefits by the owners, including a conducive working environment, security of job, wages under a government announced wage board and an unbiased gender policy, and the contract system introduced in media organisations by the media owners for media persons was not abolished’, the PFUJ asserted.
The PFUJ further pointed out that despite ever increasing incidents of killing, kidnapping, torture and intimidating, the media persons working in all parts of Baluchistan no remedial measures have been adopted by the concerned agencies to ensure their protection which is a constitutional as well as obligatory international protocol of the government.
Those killed during the proeceeding year include:
1. Hameed Marwat, TV artist (Quetta)
2. Ashiq Ali Mangi, reporter Mehran TV channel (Sindh)
3. Malik Arif, Samaa TV Cameraman (Quetta)
4. Azmat Ali, Correspondent Samaa (Orakzai Agency)
5. Ghulam Rasool Birhamani, reporter Hyderabad-based Daily Sindhu
6. Imran Ashfaq, correspondent Daily Assas (Karachi)
7. Shahid Square, correspondent Daily Assas (Karachi)
8. Faiz Mohammad Khan Sasoli, President Khuzadar Press Club
9. Abdul Haque, Security Guard, PBC Khuzdar (Baluchistan)
10. Asma Anwar of Nowshera
11. Mohammad Sarwar, Aaj TV crew driver (Quetta)
12. Cameraman Ejaz Ahmed Raisani (Quetta)
13. Misri Khan, senior journalists of Hangu (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa)
14. Mujeebur Rehman Saddiqui, senior correspondent Daily Pakistan
15. Mehar Mohammad Akmal, Reporter Punjab TV, Daily Asas
16. Abdul Hameed Hayatan, (Balochistan)
17. Altaf Chandio, President Mirpurkhas Press Club (Sindh)
18. Abdul Wahab, Express News (Mohmand Agency)
19. Pervez Khan, Waqt TV (Mohmand Agency)
20. Mohammad Khan Sasoli, correspondent Baluchistan Times, President Khuzdar Press Club.
The PFUJ said that ironically none of the killers of media practitioners who were killed after 9/11 were brought to justice so far which has aggravated the miseries of the deceased families as well as the media community. Moreover, majority of the media practitioners and media related employees who lost their lives were not compensated at par with the security personals.
“Situation in the Baluchistan province and Tribal Belts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa is very volatile for the media practitioners and a still more painful aspect of the same is that in both areas which are ridden by insurgency for almost over a decade, ninety-nine percent media practitioners of the same areas are neither regularly paid employees nor they are being provided any training for safety in the wake of reporting which further aggravated the safety of the life of the media persons”, said Shamsul Islam Naz, SG PFUJ.
The trend of kidnapping and torturing even killing has also attained a dangerous trend in these areas by unknown persons as well as security agencies yet there is none in the country to ensure the safety of the media persons.