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‘Journalists’ issues to be resolved through protection law’

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Wednesday that the federal government is going to resolve media workers’ issues through journalist’s protection law, ARY News reported.

Firdous Ashiq Awan, while briefing the Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting during a session held under the chair of Faisal Javed, said the government is 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 journalists’ organisations.

Read: PM Imran Khan takes major step to protect rights of media workers

While apprising the Upper House’s body, Dr Awan said the government is accountable to the nation and it is the prime responsibility of the government to find the solution of media crisis and difficulties being faced by its workers.

“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.”

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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.

Read: Protection of media workers’ rights govt’s top priority: Firdous Ashiq Awan

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.



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