ISLAMABAD: Speakers at protest rallies organised by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) across the country said government tactics to gag media are leading to retrenchments in the industry.

The rallies were attended by journalists, media workers and retrenched employees and pensioners of PTV, Radio Pakistan apart from workers and trade unions of Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDCL), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL), and CDA also joined the protest.

In the capital, a protest rally was scheduled from the National Press Club to the Parliament House. However, the rally was stopped by police at D-Chowk.

PFUJ Secretary General Nasir Zaidi in his address said the entire media community was united for ensuring free press and protecting rights of the community.

“We will not disappoint the working class and are ready for any sacrifice needed to safeguard the rights of workers and labourers,” he said.

He warned the government against cut in advertisement and other measures which had created financial crisis in media industry forcing owners to resort to retrenchments.

Anchorperson and senior journalist Hamid Mir said the protest itself was an ample proof of government highhandedness against media industry and strict censorship on media as operation of channel 24 is suspended for the last 72 days.

“PTV and Radio Pakistan are not being spared from retrenchments, forced retirements and denial of dues to pensioners,” he said.

Anchor and HRCP representative Muneze Jehangir said today all workers are united for their rights and any attempt to thwart this unity will be foiled.

Former PFUJ president Afzal Butt while criticising the government for increasing unemployment and price hike said media industry and journalist community are being targeted.

National Press Club President Shakil Anjum warned the PTI government and said: “Enough is enough and the struggle for saving media industry will continue.”

Representatives of PTV pensioners, Radio Pakistan, CDA, OGDCL and SNGPL unions announced their support to media workers and said only free media can ensure fair accountability, transparency and governance.

Protests were also held in 13 other cities including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Abbottabad and Sukkur.

In a rally in Quetta, PFUJ President Shehzada Zulfiqar criticised the government for failing to resolve issues in the country.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2020

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