Rafia Haider

KARACHI, Nov 18 (APP):Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz on Wednesday regretted the ongoing practice of forced resignations of journalists and other workers at different media houses in Karachi.

It would definitely send a wrong message in a scenario when many countries across the world, including Pakistan, were trying to brave the second wave of COVID-19, he said in a telephonic conversation with APP.

“The second COVID wave is feared to be more fierce and with much severe debilitating impact, if not handled with prudence, on different aspects of the public life,” the minister said.

Expressing his sympathy with the affected media workers, Shibli Faraz urged the authorities of the media houses concerned to review their decision.

To a question, the minister said there was no justification to target the workers under any false pretext and denied in the most categorical terms the impression being created by some that any dues of those media houses had yet to be paid by the government.

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“We have not only cleared all the dues but also evolved a transparent mechanism for distribution of advertisements with no chances of favoritism,” he elaborated.

Meanwhile, a large number of journalists attended a protest meeting called by the Herald Workers Union and supported by the Karachi Union of Journalists against forced resignations of workers from daily Dawn.

Secretary General of Pakistan Union of Journalist (PFUJ) Nasir Zaidi, addressing the protestors gathered at the gates of daily Dawn, condemned the management concerned and said all the media workers were on a single platform and would resist the policy.

He said the PFUJ also stood by the workers of TV One and also with those belonging to different other print and electronic media groups, which had turned to the commercial entities with no value for principles that such organizations had always been expected for.

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KUJ General Secretary Fahim Siddiqui regretted that retrenchment letters were being issued, by different media houses, to even the regular workers who were asked to resign or otherwise be prepared for dismissal creating a sense of insecurity and distress among them.

The plight of workers on contract was also pitiable, he said, adding that under a calculated approach majority of the media workers, including journalists, had since long been hired on contract basis denying them of essential facilities and job security.

Rishad Mahmood of Herald Group of Publications and others also spoke on the occasion.