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Billionaires’ mafia in media houses

Tariq Khalique

These days, Pakistani media house owners are busy in making the lives of their employees miserable by shutting down publications, terminating staff, reducing and delaying salaries for several months.

They are raising hue and cry and blaming the present government’s policies for all this mess. There is no second opinion that the present government has failed to deliver on almost every front so far, but the media owners cannot held only the government responsible for all this chaos.

What makes billionaires’ mafia in media houses think that the people working in their organisations will survive without being paid on a monthly basis?





Basically, whenever the media house owners profit gets a hit, they started screaming about losses, and dubbed their organisation a loss-making entity. On the contrary, when they earn huge profits, they never pass it on to their staff.

In the past, owners of some of the giant media groups were playing the role of a facilitator in the making of a government by patronising certain politicians from whom they got favours. But this time, they have failed to convince the present government and that is why they are facing difficult times.

Pakistan Television has often been criticised for airing state’s propaganda, but the private television channels have tarnished the real image of broadcasting by executing the agenda of their owners. Unfortunately, all private television channels copy each other according to their requirements and capacity. Not a single one stands out.

These bigwigs are only focusing on political gimmicks through airing talk shows during prime time on their television channels. Pakistan has undoubtedly seen a surge in the number of private channels during the last 10 years, but more has been lost rather than gained.

The crisis in the mainstream print and electronic media is going from bad to worse, as apart from carrying out owners’ agenda, almost all the big media groups have started reducing their staff, shutting down publications and delaying wages. The present government’s decision to cut down the advertisements for the private sector media houses by around 70 percent and poor business practices are a few causes of this downturn.





Another factor, which plays its part in this situation, is the intention of the media owners, entering the field. In Pakistan, media has become one of the most powerful businesses for the elite. It not only increases their revenues manifold, but also serves as a tool to give cover to their other businesses, such as tax evasion, getting waivers for their bank loans by blackmailing or supporting government functionaries, etc.

A new trend of payments to the staff in various slabs has also been introduced by some of the media house owners. These billionaires’ mafia in the media houses is claiming they have no money to pay, and realising the problems of the employees, they are trying to arrange funds from different sources on a daily basis. This is sheer nonsense, as no sane person could believe their stance of the lack of finances.

Anyhow, whatever be the reasons, one thing is clear that the media house owners are not only making the lives of thousands of people, if not more, miserable, but also engaged in activities, which are against the basic norms of humanity.

If the situation continues, the country would witness significant surge in unemployment, and the tall claims of the present government to provide 10 million jobs during its tenure, would remain another unfulfilled dream.

Realising the severity of the situation, the government should hold negotiations with the media house owners to resolve the issue on an immediate basis and make proper laws so that billionaires’ mafia in the media houses should be refrained from exercising such inhumane behaviour.

“The difference between an Employer and an Employee is that as payday approaches, the Employee is full of hope and expectation, while the Employer is full of fear and trepidation.” (Ankala V Subbarao, a writer and cardiologist by profession).

But in Pakistan, the case is entirely different, firstly because there exists no fixed payday, as far as media houses are concerned, and secondly, the employers continue to show apathetic behaviour, resulting in worst scenarios for the employees.

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