ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned the retrenchment of over 500 employees by the Jang Group of Newspapers and called for their immediate reinstatement.

“The sacking of over 500 employees in one go by the Jang Group of Newspapers is against labour laws and we will not accept such anti-labour practices,” a joint statement issued by Afzal Butt, president of his own faction of PFUJ, and secretary general Ayub Jan Sarhandi said on Saturday.

The Jang group has shut down its Peshawar and Faisalabad editions and also closed down its dailies Aftab, Awam and Daily News, rendering more than 500 employees jobless. No prior notice was given to the employees about the publications’ closure.

The two PFUJ office-bearers dismissed claims that the group had been forced to shut down its publications due to stoppage of advertisements by the government.

“This excuse may be partially correct, but we believe that it’s not the sole reason for the newspapers’ closure,” they said.

“The Jang group has earned billions of rupees during the last few decades and is in a position to absorb such financial shocks as are being felt today by the media industry due to the government’s anti-media policies,” they said. “The PFUJ demands forensic audit of the Jang group to ascertain the facts,” the two leaders said. They also criticised the government for its anti-media policy as it had given an “excuse to media organisations to retrench staff”.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2018