CJP summons Geo owner over non-payment of salaries to workers


–Chief Justice Nisar says media mogul ‘can do whatever he wants against me’ but he will have to explain his position 


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday summoned the editor-in-chief of Jang Group, Mir Shakilur Rahman over the issue of the non-payment of salaries to the group’s employees for the past three months, saying the media mogul “can do whatever he wants against me”, but he would have to explain his position in the matter.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar directed Rahman to appear before the court on Tuesday whilst hearing the application filed by Press Association of Supreme Court (PAS) President Tayyab Baloch.

The case revolves around the media commission, which was formed by the SC in 2013 to review major points of concern in mass media.

While addressing Geo TV’s anchorperson Hamid Mir, who was a petitioner in the media commission case, the CJP remarked that some reporters had approached him with the complaint that their salaries are a paltry Rs12,000 and even that isn’t paid for as long as three months at times.

Justice Nisar asked Mir if someone could formulate their budget in Rs12,000 and suggested that the journalist also raise his voice for such reporters.

During the hearing, the CJP asked Mir how much salary he was receiving from Geo TV. The anchorperson chose not to answer directly, saying that his salary too hasn’t been issued for three months.

Justice Nisar then ordered Mir Shakilur Rahman, who is also the chief editor and publisher of The News and Urdu daily Jang, to personally appear before the court on Tuesday and explain the non-payment of salaries to media workers employed by his group.

Earlier on April 5, the SC directed the owners of private media houses to pay salaries to journalists and media workers till April 30, otherwise, adverse action would be taken against them.

During the course of proceedings, representatives of all media houses appeared before the bench in compliance with its earlier orders.

The court observed that it was a matter of bread and butter for the journalists and directed the owners of media houses to clear all outstanding dues of their employees.