AT News Report
KABUL: 15 media organizations have failed to pay their journalists and other staff from six to 21 months, a media watchdog said.
The media supporting agency (NAI) warned on Sunday that it would publicize the identities of the media companies if they continue to keep their personnel waiting for salaries.
Mehria Razavi had been working for the Zan TV for 18 months. She was paid Afs 8,000 per month, with the USAID-funded Promote project paying 80 per cent of her salary and the broadcaster was only paying 20 per cent of the payment.
Mehria said Sunday that her company refused to pay her for four months and this disappointed her from continuing her job, so she quitted her job at the broadcaster.
Razavi said she went to the TV office to request for her payment last time on Saturday, but her former bosses refused to pay her four months payments.
“I resigned because they did not pay me. Then they said that my payment decreased to 5,000 Afs which I did not accept,” Razavi said.
Samir is another journalist who was previously working for the Zan TV, but resigned like his colleague Mehria because of not being paid.
He had been paid 20,000 Afs per month and the TV owes him 36,000 Afs.
“They are cheating us for three weeks by fake promises to pay our salaries.”
Hamed Samar, head of the broadcaster rejects the allegations, saying that those personnel who had been fired, make such “false allegations”.
“The people who are fired, first of all they claim that they had resigned because of salary problem or other problems,” said Samar.
He said that the broadcaster pays its staff regularly, but confirmed delays in paying sometimes due to financial problems.
Zan is not the only media company facing payment challenge. According to NAI, there are handful organizations that regularly pay their staff.
Mojib Khalvatgar, head of the watchdog, said that 15 audio-visual companies have failed to pay their staff salaries from six to 21 months, but he refused to identify the organizations. Khelvatgar added that he was assured by the media runners to pay the complete salaries of their staff within six months.
“If not so, we will publicize their identities and we have no other choice,” he said.
Another journalist who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had been working for the Mashal, another private TV broadcaster, but resigned five months ago due to lack of payment.
He claimed that reporters and other personnel at the company were not paid for several months.
But the leadership of the TV rejected the allegation, saying that a little amount of the payments were not paid, but the problem was solved when the head of TV came home from an overseas travel.
There are 96 TV stations, 194 radios, 300 newspapers and 14 news agencies in Afghanistan, according to NAI.