Whether it’s the live coverage of a war-torn area or the seasonal lawn sale in a shopping mall, field journalists always have to face severe circumstances. And thanks to our journalists’ friendly governments who are quick in labelling any journalist a traitor and then putting his name on ECL; a Bill for Media worker’s protection is in the process of approval.
The aggressive response of the government to Dawn Leaks and then putting the name of the responsible journalist on ECL indeed made the government a victim of criticism from many media persons.
So, here comes the PML-N government’s idea to manifest itself as a journalist friendly party and an effort to build up goodwill among the media persons. According to the Minister of state for information, Maryam Aurangzeb, the first draft of the bill has been circulated already among the journalists and organisations including (all Pakistan newspapers agency) APNS, Press clubs and PRA (Parliamentary Reporters Association).
She also told that the real concern of media workers was the 8th wage Award and other financial matters. They just wanted an increase in salaries, acknowledgement of their work and effort in a better financial appraisal. She said, “We know that media worker are underpaid and in number of cases media workers are not paid by owners”,
Now, it is a fact that media has also become a corporate entity and not at all a holy cow. The Minister of State also elaborated on this bitter reality that media owners were exploiting the workers by forcing them to do unpaid work and holding on their wages. She further told that government was keen to cover all the concerns of journalists including financial issues. Just to give an example, she emphasised the sue moto notice taken by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif regarding the vacant position of judge in the Implementation Tribunal for Newspapers Employees (ITNE).
There is no doubt that job of a field journalist is much vulnerable and he has to face very tough circumstances that can even jeopardise his life. Unfortunately, public does not even know about so many reporters who have to put their lives at stake for finding the truth and then exposing it to the public. Unlike the corporate sector where many laws exist that guarantee the protection of labor at the workplace, there are no such laws in Pakistan that can safeguard the interests of a unprotected media person.