Only ten of the country's 167 newspapers adhere to the wage board for its employees
The Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) has scheduled a sit-in demonstration for May 15 — to press home their fourteen-point demand that includes the implementation of the ninth wage board, and the formulation of a mass media law.
BFUJ President Mollah Jalal announced the schedule of the procession after a human chain jointly-organized by BFUJ, the Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ), the Bangladesh Woman Journalists' Association, Bangladesh Mofossal Sangbadik Forum and others journalists' associations, in front of the National Press Club on Monday.
BFUJ Secretary General Shaban Mahmood said: "The government must investigate and take necessary action against the newspapers that have a Department of Films & Publications (DFP) rate card—and gain every facility provided by the state—but do not pay journalists properly.
Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) President Abu Jafar Surja said: "How does a television channel shut down its news section? Since there is no existing mass media law, owners can do anything they want."
DUJ General Secretary Sohel Haider Chowdhury said: "With statistics, the Department of Film and Publication published its report that 167 newspapers have taken rate cards and implemented the wage board. However, in reality, only ten newspapers have implemented the wage board."
"A few months ago, we [DUJ] requested the Information Ministry not to provide a government supplementary to the Manobkantha, Barthaman, and Amar Potrika newspapers. However, the ministry denied our request; it seems like that government also does not care about journalists' rights," he said.
He added that the daily, Prothom Alo, recently terminated many of its journalists. A private television channel, Desh TV, decided to terminate 31 employees. However, all the owners and officers of this channel have a close connection to the government, they should not do such a thing. Ekattor television has not paid increments to employees in the last four years. ATN Bangla has not paid regular salaries in the last five months. Another national daily, Protidiner Songbad, did not pay a Boishakhi bonus and does not have a salary structure for working journalists, said the DUJ journalist leader.
In his speech, Sohel Haider also mentioned irregularities about: Ittefaq, Sangbad, Vorer Pata and others newspapers.
BFUJ Vice President Sayed Ishtiaque Reza, Bangladesh Women Journalist Association President Nasima Akter Shoma, Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) Secretary Kabir Ahmed Khan, and leaders from others journalist organizations were present at the program among others.