Media Industry, particularly newspapers, has been going through a long rough patch. In the early and mid 2000s Media was sailing along smoothly. News channels were blooming. Heavy salaries were paid to experienced journalists. Print was slow to catch up yet things were not as gloomy as they used to be. For the past few years, print media industry has been facing the worst of times. Employees are always the front line soldiers that face the fire. APNS (All Pakistan Newspaper Society) never put its foot down for the welfare and well being of journalists. Maybe it’s a body whose only concern is to look after the interests of newspaper owners only.
APNS led by President Sarmad Ali has recently met with Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Shahbaz Sharif. Sarmad was accompanied by Secretary General Nazafreen Saigol Lakhani. The APNS Delegation also included print media heavyweights namely, Mujeeb ur Rahman Shami, Ramiza Nizami, Imtinan Shahid, Jamil Ather, Umar Shami, Mumtaz Tahir, Mohsin Bilal, Shahab Zuberi, Awais Khushnood, Munir Gillani, Humayon Gulzar and Waseem Ahmed.Marriyum Aurangzeb, Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Fahd Hussain Special Assistant to Prime Minister also attended the meeting.
The core objective of assembling the stalwarts of Print Media Industry was obviously to clear their outstanding dues. On the face of it the initiative by the PM is commendable. But, the PM did not say a single word on the plight of print media journalists who have to wait months to get their salaries. Some of the publishing groups had halved the salaries of their employees. Would their salaries be restored? There is little hope that the financial problems of journalists will be solved. The problem is that the very people who are supposed to raise voice against economic exploitation of journalists are the ones responsible for it.
After the clearance of all outstanding advertising dues by the PM there is hope that newspaper owners will release the funds for the disbursement of salaries. It is hoped that APNS will grow into a new rule of looking after its own community and the people on whose shoulders stand the fourth pillar of state.