PAKISTAN: NUJ calls for support for BBC Pakistan journalists

The NUJ is seriously concerned about the job cuts at BBC Pakistan and offers support and assistance to colleagues.

The service in Pakistan is linked to the BBC World Service which is a UK public funded organisation. In May 2013 BBC Pakistan announced plans to cut 9 reporters out of 14. At the same time as announcing the job cuts the company were relying on producers to report the news.

In March 2007 some employees of BBC World Service registered ‘BBC Pakistan’ as a private company. The NUJ believes the purpose of establishing BBC Pakistan was to enable the organisation to cut costs and restructure. At the time some of UK based employees transferred to Islamabad.

The NUJ is calling for an immediate halt to the planned job cuts at BBC Pakistan and an open investigation into the current employment and recruitment practices in the BBC Urdu Islamabad Bureau.

Mr Pervaiz Shaukat, President of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), has condemned the termination of service of the BBC Urdu’s 9 reporters. There are 3 reporters from Lahore, 2 each from Islamabad and Karachi and 1 from Quetta. They have all been served termination notices with effect from Wednesday 26 June.

“The termination notices are unlawful and in violation of BBC’s own HR policies and set procedures,” said Mr Shaukat in a statement.

“Most of the reporters who have been given notices of termination of their services are senior reporters and they have served BBC Urdu in very difficult times. They have reported for the BBC from war zones to natural disasters and in extremely bad conditions but they have earned credibility for the BBC” he said.

“The decision means depriving reporters of livelihood whose years of hard work has played a significant role in making the BBC one of the most credible news sources in Pakistan.”

“We shall coordinate with the National Union of Journalist (NUJ, UK) and other international bodies against the arbitrary and unlawful decision of the BBC Urdu’s management.” he added.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “We want to offer support and assistance to our BBC colleagues in Pakistan. BBC Pakistan should not close their doors tomorrow. We are calling for an urgent investigation and review.

The BBC reporters in Pakistan have been working under constant stress for several years due to an increase in their workloads and have at times risked their lives while performing their duties and received threats for the stories they were writing. Instead of recognizing their hard work, they are being fired from their jobs today.

Document Type : Forwarded Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-FPR-032-2013
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Judicial system, Rule of law,