Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Dawn Media Group & Plight of Journalists.

Daily Dawn was allegedly founded by the Founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The CEO of Dawn group is Hameed Haroon, and the current editor of Dawn is Abbas Nasir, who is also looking after the Dawn News Channel [supposed to be a full time job], and how the hell it would be possible to look after two organizations at the same time!!

Hameed Haroon is Chief Executive Officer of The Dawn Media Group (DMG), Pakistan’s leading media conglomerate. The Group comprises Pakistan Herald Publications (Pvt.) Limited, the printers and publishers of DAWN newspaper and three leading magazines, Herald (current affairs) Spider (Information Technology) and Aurora (marketing and advertising); DawnNews Pakistan’s first and to-date only English language news channel; City FM89 radio and DAWN.COM-arguably Pakistan’s most visited news web portal. [Couurtesy: Wikipedia]

As per latest news update dated 25 May 2007 [AAJ NEWS 2100 HOURS].

On 25 May 2007 the DAWN NEWS CHANNEL's test transmission was commenced and guess what the opening ceremony was addressed by Generalissimo Generalissimus Il President Mr Parvez Musharraf. Whereas the so-called Beacon of the Press Freedom i.e. Pakistan Herald Publication Limited or to be precise Daily Dawn [DATED 25 MAY 2007] says:

"“In our endeavour to establish DawnNews we are enormously helped by our legacy – The legacy of DAWN, that was founded by the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah on 14th August 1947 in Karachi, the same day our nation was born. We believe that by facilitating access to information of the highest quality and with a defined commitment to clarity and accuracy, we can enable Pakistan’s young generations to assume their place as informed citizens of the world.”

But Jinnah had never dreamt of Controlled and Guided Democracy by Military Dictator as well as he never dreamt of that a Military Dictator would be addressing a forum founded by a Lawyer of Impeccable Character i.e. Mohammad Ali Jinnah

The tragedy of English Speaking Pakistani Elite Class can only be defined as:

If you lost money then nothing is lost,

If you lost health then something is lost,

If you lost character then you lost everything and nothing is left.

The most amazing thing is this that after all these years of boastful claims of Freedom of Press and leaseholding of Basic Human Rights, on 27 March, 2009, Mr Hameed Haroon at the behest of Editor Dawn Mr Abbas Nasir and Part TIME EXECUTIVE RATHER Hatchet Man of DAWN NEWS CHANNEL, sacked more than 70 employees in the name of reorganizing [Read Retrenchments and Iron Kick] the Dawn News Channel and this step is itself tantamount to Financial Murder and this is the step for which Hameed Haroon and Pseudo Leftists of Saadat-e-Amroha in Dawn Editorial Board hounded the several Civilian Government of 90s. Following is the list and names of Working Journalists/Technicians who have been summarily dismissed:

Another lame plea of Dawn Group Management is this that Dawn News Channel has nothing to do with Daily Dawn newspaper! I wonder what the hell Mr Abbas Nasir [Editor Dawn] is doing in Dawn News Channel and why the hell both the orgainzations share the same website?


Plight of Karachi Journalists Fazil Jamili June 10, 2004

A report by Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) on the eve of the World Press Freedom Day.

The working conditions in most of the newspapers have deteriorated with more than 75 per cent of journalists working either on contractor without appointment letters, making the fight to protect the "Freedom of the Press," extremely difficult, a survey conducted by the Karachi Union of Journalists revealed, says in a KUJ Press Release, on the eve of the World Press Freedom Day.

The KUJ Units compiled the survey of over one dozen newspapers and interviewed some 602 journalists working in dailies DAWN, Jang, The News, Daily Times, Business Recorder, Nawa-e-Waqt, Khabrain, Nay Akhbar, Awam, Daily Express, Ummat, Awami Awaz, Hilal-e-Pakistan, Kawish, Ibrat, Khabroon, Amn, Intikhab and news agencies including the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), Pakistan Press International (PPI).

The survey was conducted through a "Performa" in which questions were asked from the journalists about the working conditions in their respective newspapers and news agencies.

Only 152 Journalists, mostly from DAWN, Jang, APP, Business Recorder, and Daily Times have permanent jobs. The survey revealed that there may be few more permanent journalists, who could not have been contacted but by and large the working conditions termed as "worst" in the newspaper Industry.

The KUJ has decided to send the complete report to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Labour Organization (ILO) and other bodies.

Majority of the journalists are receiving salaries from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000, but no medical or insurance facilities, making it difficult particularly for reporters and Press photographers to work in a highly intolerant society. They were subjected to violence at the hands of law enforcement agencies, political parties, religious and ethnic groups.

Only two months back dozens of activists of a sectarian group attacked the Karachi Press Club, KPC chasing photographers, who took shelter in club’s bathroom.

In spite of poor working conditions and no protection the Sindhi Journalists were largely responsible for exposing issues like Karo-Kari or honour killing," despite threats from the feudal lords.

While the government has not imposed any censorship or ban on newspapers, but a leading newspaper, Jang group have imposed a complete "ban" on the news of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and its affiliated unions like KUJ and All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC).

All news items of the PFUJ, APNEC and KUJ are subjected to pre-censorship resorted by the Jang management, which blacks out 99 per cent news of the journalist community.

The KUJ thanked all those newspapers that have given fair coverage particularly Daily Times, Daily Express, Business Recorder, DAWN, Khabrain, Amn, Awami Awaz and other organs.

However, the government still used "advertisements" for its own interest. The need is to link these advertisements of billions of rupees with the working conditions and the implementation of successive wage awards and labour laws.

The KUJ report said that the government has now adopted a policy of "corrupting" journalists through various means including sending them on tours and surprisingly, the newspaper managements have not resisted it.

Hardly any newspaper sends its journalists or photographers abroad to cover important International events like situation in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Several government departments have also adopted a similar strategy in a bid to avoid any negative reports against them. Most of them often used the newspaper’s marketing and advertising departments for this purpose.

The new advertising trends in the newspapers have also badly affected the quality and layout of the newspapers.

The KUJ has also noted an increase in the intelligence agencies interference in the newspapers by planting "their men" in the newspapers. They have also hired journalists working on low salaries and without any other facilities.

The salaries of the people working in the advertising and marketing field are 200 per cent more than the journalists.

In smaller newspapers journalists have been used for bringing advertising business and paid accordingly, which again is a form of corruption.

The KUJ believes, under these circumstances and in the presence of more than one dozen "Press Laws," the proposed "Press Council," could only be used against the working journalists.

So far the government have not discussed the Press Council, Freedom of the Information Act or other such proposed laws with the real representatives of the working journalists i.e. the PFUJ, making its intentions more suspicious.

The survey further revealed that most of the newspapers did not give medical facilities, gratuity or have Provident Fund, raising questions about the labour laws, basic fundamental rights and the rights provided in the Constitution of Pakistan.

The Chairman of the 7th Wage Board Justice (retd) Raja Afrasiab Khan has rightly pointed out towards the plight of the newspaper workers in the Award, which also appeared in the Gazette of Pakistan, on October 25, 2001.

He said," The working conditions of newspaper employees have worsened in terms of the contractual agreement. Presumably, in order to avert the strict implementation of the Award, the employers have started recruiting the employees on short-term contracts. It may be noted that the contract labour who can be in majority, do not drive any benefits in the increase wage level as suggested by the Wage Boards."

Thus he suggested," The award may decree that all the contract employees may be paid the basic pay of the respective category as suggested by the Award."

For instance a senior journalist of daily Amn, Iftikhar Qamar is fighting for his life for the past few months but the newspaper management are not ready to provide him the facility for treatment.

According to Pakistan Association of Press Photographers (PAPP), most of the press photographers hardly get any protection like Insurance or medical facilities, although they are among the worst victims of religious, political and ethnic intolerance.

Very few Press Photographers who died while performing their professional duties got any assistance from their managements.

The KUJ said that the prime responsibility for journalists’ Insurance or medical is not of the government but of the concerned newspaper owners.

The KUJ noted that in at least 80 per cent of the newspapers and news agencies there is no concept of the labour laws, Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1973 or Wage Award, which are laws of the land.

Now a more dangerous trend of "honorary journalists," has further threatened the profession, which should be condemned and the journalist community must resist.

The part time or honorary journalists are the product of the deteriorating working condition, which may further worsen the conditions. Many government employees particularly those working in Health Department, Education Department, Water Board, schools etc. are also working in different newspapers or acting as bureau chiefs.

The KUJ urged the newspaper owners and their organizations All Pakistan Newspaper Society, APNS and Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, CPNE to take steps to improve the working conditions, give better facilities like medical, Insurance and Provident Fund to the their workers. A better working condition will help also in improving the quality of journalism.

However, the KUJ also appealed to their members particularly Reporters and Press photographers to be more responsible and not to involve themselves in anything which can bring discredit to them and to their Union.

The incident of a father committing suicide after one newspaper published the photographs of his daughter and portrayed her as "call girl," reflects an immoral and unethical trend, which has grips the profession.

PFUJ, APNS and CPNE all have their own code of ethic, but there is a need to implement it.

The KUJ also demanded complete enforcement of labour laws and Newspaper Employees Conditions and Service Act, 1973 in all the newspapers and news agencies in order to ensure complete freedom of the Press in a better working environment.


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