Doing journalism is not an easy task in Pakistan
Performing journalistic duties and doing it up to the mark is not piece of cake in Pakistan because one has to pay price for it and only the luckiest journalists may avoid facing the required music.
The powerful segments of the society have no issue with coverage of routine matters which got nothing to do with the real issues.
The promotional pieces of reporting in their favour would cement the bond of good relations between a journalist and them. However, highlighting chronic issues and damaging vested interests of powerful individuals and corporations could be a real point of concern and one may be asked to pay price for doing upright journalism. And this price may be anything from simple harassment to creating an atmosphere in which one may be compelled to resign from the job. Sometime it demands more and life may also be at the risk.
Being a journalist in Pakistan is tantamount to become part of the most vulnerable fraternity in the country with little reward and too much responsibilities. Currently the fraternity is also already facing the worst era of its existence in the country.
Upholding journalistic norms has never been easy task and with the passage of time it’s becoming harder to perform duty over here. The job of an average or ordinary journalist is always at the stake as it may be lost any day and anytime and due to any reason.
Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs with different media organizations due to alleged current recession in the market. There are many who besides facing financial issues are also facing harassment of different nature.
The latest victim of this scenario is Aziz Memon, a journalist who did an exclusive news item which damaged interests of powerful and influential persons.
Memon did a news story for a Sindhi private TV channel pertaining to persons who were paid by a political party for making sure their presence in a political gathering at Mahrabpur Station.
Recently Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had organized a train march from Karachi to Larkana. This train march was welcomed at every railways station by masses while heading towards its destination.
Memon did a story on some women and men who were sitting at Mehrabpur Station of the Railways and they were complaining that they were not paid accordingly as they were promised by local leadership of the PPP. A few women were of the opinion that Rs2,000 were supposed to be paid to them as was promised for participating in the political gathering but word in this regard was not honoured. They were of the opinion that they were paid only Rs200 per head against promised amount of Rs2,000.
Within a few hours this video went viral on the social media and PPP faced strong criticism across the board for this act. Even the prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan quoted this piece of reporting in his speech and used it for criticizing his political opponents.
However, afterwards Memon has been under severe pressure and he was so much pressurized by the local authorities that he had to leave his native town for the sake of his safety and took refuge in Islamabad.
According to Memon after doing story on the issue of ‘paid workers’ he is continuously being harassed by top police officials of District Naushahro Feroze and he and his family members are not safe. He also states that he got nothing to do with Pakistan Tehreek-Insaaf (PTI), the rival party of PPP as whatever he did, did it for the sake of journalism.