Split in the journalist union

It is rather unfortunate that journalist unions are going to split in different factions. Once mighty Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) and Punjab Union of Journalist (PUJ) was led by the great leaders like Nisar Usmani, Minhaj Barna, Zaheer Kashmiri and Hussain Naqi. Both PFUJ and PUJ not only led struggles of journalists but also played leading role to safeguard democratic and labour rights in the country. PFUJ was a beacon of hope for all those who were involved in the struggles against repression, exploitation and labour violations.

PFUJ played leading role in the political and economic struggles of Pakistani working masses. PFUJ and PUJ was use to be representative and democratic bodies of the journalists and fought against any sort of influence from the government and media owners.

But unfortunately in last few years, PFUJ becomes battle ground to get influence and to install its own people in this leading body of the journalist community by the media owners and specially largest media houses of the country. It is not a healthy development. The increased influence and interference of the media houses in the press clubs and journalist bodies paved the way for the splits and fractions.

The leadership of the journalist bodies should not played in the hands of media houses. Instead, they should organise struggles to implement the wage award and to end the contract labour in the media houses. The leadership should not become party in the infighting and professional rivalry  of big media houses. They should focus on the issues faced by the journalist and media workers. The journalist are one of the most oppressed and economically deprived section of the working class.

The mushroom growth of the electronic media has been beneficial to some anchors and top journalists in the country but the overwhelming majority of the journalists being left out of this media boom. The big majority of journalists and media workers are low paid and without having any job security. The divided leadership and organisations has weakened the journalist unions. Its a win win situation for media owners.

The unified struggle and leadership is the need of the hour to protect and to further the struggles for the journalist rights. The independent and fighting leadership can unite the journalists and strengthen the unions. The countrywide campaigns and struggles needed to implement the wage board award and other laws.

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