ISLAMABAD, March 8:- The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has regretted that female journalists in Pakistan still lack basic facilities and opportunity to serve in the media houses in a conducive environment, and complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination in getting assignments are rampant.
On the eve of the International Women day, the PFUJ said the media owners of Pakistan claim themselves to be champions of the rule of law, equity, fairplay, humanity, and that they are highlighting the injustice in society but fact remains that media houses have turned into chambers of torture, cruelty, lawlessness and worst places for female journalists.
“As women in Pakistan’s mushrooming electronic media break new barriers, reports of sexual harassment and unfair pay are and profile is becoming a matter of grave concern,” the PFUJ asserted.
The PFUJ pointed out that no gender policy exists in any media outlet, besides there is absence of policy on human resources, gender, maternity leave in Pakistani media houses and women are scarcely involved in decision-making process and journalists’ associations hardly come to any help to women journalists in case of profession-related problems.
Women journalists face discrimination in getting assignments because of being considered less competent, are sexually harassed, and often drop out from the profession for lack of proper media policy.
Although women population in Pakistan is said to be over 51 per cent in the print media, the participation of the females is insignificant while in electronic media ratio of female is hardly one per cent and the same is the case in online and news agencies. In case of print media which is more dominating and in a big number in Pakistan especially in Urdu, the participation of females is almost non-existent in numerical percentage, The PFUJ added.
The PFUJ conceded that although there is no bar on female journalists to get membership of the Union of Journalists, yet females were shy in activily participating in union activities and to play their real role at par with their male colleagues, and there is an urgent need to attract them in the fold of the Unions.
The PFUJ demanded of the federal as well as all the provincial governments to ensure conducive working environment in media houses, formulation of the gender policy with clear cut provisions of washrooms, maternity leave, and participation of women in administrative posts, decision making and equal opportunity on promotion, wages, as well as assignments.
The PFUJ also demanded that all those who make an attempt or are involved in sexual harassment be brought to justice instead of the harassment and blackmail of victim females.
An Urgent Uddari Wish: That the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) consider using ‘women’ for ‘females’ and ‘woman’ for ‘female’ in their statements and press releases.