Trade unions

Established in 1950, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) is a trade union and an umbrella organisation representing journalists of the entire country. It strives for the safety, welfare and better working environment of all journalists, not just those who are its members. Regional unions of working journalists that adopt its constitution are affiliated with PFUJ. Regional affiliates include, among others, Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ), which is the mother body of Lahore Press Club and other journalist trade unions in the Punjab province.

PFUJ has a long history of struggle against oppression and autocratic rule. It was known for struggling for basic freedoms for all, not just journalists’ rights.

A right-wing splinter group broke away from PFUJ after General Zia’s imposition of martial law in 1977. What remained behind was known as the PFUJ-Barna, which broke into two factions in 2013 over a disputed election. All factions pleaded with the government and non-government organisations, including the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), that theirs was the original PFUJ. The fractures have robbed PFUJ of the effectiveness and clout it once had as the journalists’ trade union. They have also exposed the divided journalist community to exploitation by the government, media owners and others with vested interests. Efforts to unify the PFUJ launched by senior journalists on the request of the various factions have failed to yield results.

Bloggers and citizen journalists are not covered in the mandate of PFUJ as it considers only those individuals working journalists who depend on journalism as their only professional means of living.

All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC) works for journalists as well as other media workers. PFUJ is also affiliated with APNEC as are numerous CBA unions of media offices.