KABUL (SW) – A number of media outlets across Afghanistan have not paid salaries to their staff for months, Abdul Mujeeb Khalwatgar, chief executive for the NAI – Supporting Open Media organization, told Salam Watandar.
Without naming anyone, he said one media outlet associated with a top government official in particular has not paid salaries to its staff for the past 20 months. He said efforts in this connection did not yield satisfactory results. The NAI chief executive officer said the names of the defaulter media outlets are not made public simply because of the pledges these media owners have made for paying salaries to the staff.
In the meantime, Sidiqullah Tawhidi, deputy head of the Journalists Safety Committee, said in this regard that identical complaints have been received from Kabul, Kandahar and a number of other provinces. He acknowledged these issues should be resolved by legal institutions, but there is a dearth of documents to prove these claims. He added financial constraints are the main causes.
A former media worker, Shayeq Qasemi, said in this regard that many people like him have quit their jobs due to non-payment and delay in payments. He blamed a local private TV Mitra for not paying salaries to its staff.
Fatana Bayat is another former media worker. Bayat told SW the Noreen TV still owes her the salaries for multiple months. She has now started her private business after venturing at a number of media outlets including a paid-internship at the SW.
Mitra TV is off air now, however, editor-in-chief at Norreen TV, Hamid Qasemi, said there were financial constraints previously. He added the former employees can reclaim their salaries based on documented proof.
There is a dedicated committee at the Ministry of Information and Culture to deal with such issues, Syed Jafar Rasteen, director at the MoIC, said. He vowed serious actions would be taken against the culprits based on complaints lodged. He added no complaints have been lodged so far.
In conversation with SW, a number of journalists also complained against the discriminative and political behavior at the media rights organizations.