Author: Sahib Khan, May 28 2015 - Exposure visits for journalists to areas like the drought-stricken Sindh province, Pakistan, are being organized by NGOs [non-governmental organisations] for journalists in which the logistic supports are being provided to them to develop a story on certain areas, like Tharparkar, where vulnerable communities live without proper facilities and have lost their resource of livelihood, particularly water and grazing for herds of animals.

Without NGO-organised exposure visits, media and journalists could not reach these areas, either due to not having facilitation such as logistical supports or due to media owners' lack of interest in highlighting/financing reporting on such issues. PILER - Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research (working on labor rights and livelihood) is a sponsor of journalist visits.

As a scholar and working on my M-Phil, leading to a PhD in Media and Communication Studies, I am working on the thesis on "Role of Journalistic Unions and Press Club in addressing the problems of Journalists". So far as I have found that there are the problems of journalists related with their wages and other benefits. The majority of journalists at district and lower levels are not being paid salaries. Aside from this, they are not being paid other social security benefits. A small number of journalists is receiving wages, but most are being under-paid, such that the wages are not sufficient to support them and their family.

There is more interest from media owners in the majority of journalists being deputed on a daily basis to cover the events within a city of a district and sometimes to cover other far off areas where the host of an event provides logistical support or simply the facilitation of "pick and drop" transportation for the journalist. But media owners do not pay such facilitation of "pick and drop" or even travelling allowances and day allowances as are being paid to journalists by international media houses. It would be very difficult for any journalist to go to a faraway area to develop a story on such issues as Tharparkar, a story that I developed with support of PILER. 

There are various areas in Pakistan which are continuously being neglected by government and media as well. On the positive side, INGOs and local NGOs have organized such exposure visits so that the issues being faced by local people in faraway areas could be raised in media to put the pressure on the government to take the necessary steps toward resolution.

On the negative and very tragic side, many journalists and media workers have attempted a suicide and even some have committed suicide, when they were not paid their salaries.