Women Journalists and the Era of Social Media in Pakistan

“Online media is becoming the most popular, and for sharp career growth, one would have to embed technology in practice” – Daily Dawn, the largest circulated English Daily in Pakistan quoting Hammad Sddiqui, Deputy Country Director CIPE-Pakistan.

This certainly is the Social Era, where more and more people are getting connected via Facebook, Twitter and other similar platforms. Social media is now also considered an essential tool for journalists. In Pakistan there is a growing number of young journalists, working both in print and electronic media. Some of these journalists are familiar with social media – however, most journalists are not using these tools as effectively.

Recently, CIPE support a project by a Pakistani media development NGO Uks Research Center train female journalists on reporting on gender issues. Under the project “Powerful Women, Powerful Nation,” Uks arranged to conduct four workshops in the cities of Karachi, Islamabad, Multan, and Peshawar. I was invited to conduct a session of effective use of social media.

These sessions were attended by 100 working journalists. Some senior journalists did not even have email addresses, but I was astonished to see the enthusiasm among younger journalists in learning about Twitter and blogging.

In Karachi and Peshawar, a few journalists, particularly those working for online newspapers, were already using Twitter and some were blogging too, but those working at regional newspapers, TV, and radio were often unaware of the potential of social media.

During the session they were shown how their news and blogs can reach out to a much wider global audience by using social media tools. Participant Mavra Bari from Express Tribune wrote in her piece in the newspaper:

“Before journalists can bring women’s issues and triumphs to the media forefront, they need to be equipped with necessary tools for global outreach, which are readily provided through social media.”

Similarly Lubna Jerar Naqvi from The News reported that:

“The reaction of the journalists revealed that their interest had not only been piqued and that they would employ the social media to help them grow in the new dimensions of the evolving media.”

Tasmeen Ahmar, Executive Director of Uks Research Center commented that “Since social media is still not part of journalism curricula in Pakistan, CIPE’s contribution in building technical capacity of journalist in this is highly appreciated. I feel that CIPE should conduct such sessions across Pakistan focusing particularly on young journalists until journalism schools realize the importance of social media and make it part of curriculum.”

I agree with Tasneem Ahmar that over the last few of years Pakistani online media has been growing at a phenomenal pace. Almost every newspaper now has an online edition. Moreover, TV channels and radio stations are also active on social media. In the absence of formal training for journalists on social media, perhaps catalysts such as CIPE could play s more active role in building the capacity of journalists in Pakistan.

4 Responses to Women Journalists and the Era of Social Media in Pakistan

  1. Shabbir Kazmi

    I am obliged to say that in Pakistan main media is often termed ‘tanted’. But pakistan is not an exeception even in the most developed and liveral societies there are ‘embeded journalists’ who tow the line of government and advertisers. The only difference is that they do it in a nice way and here ‘loyal than king’ become too prominent.

  2. Karachi: Social media has emerged as powerful and influential medium in Pakistan for information and opinions though some say it is largely uncontrolled and unauthentic and causes confusion among the masses due to unconfirmed facts and figures. The social media in Pakistan is said to be passing through from its evolutionary stage and impacted positively and negatively alike on internet connected society because the consumption of social media reflects on minds of its users in any way. Interestingly social media activists and particularly few bloggers have gained reputation for their bold analysis and logical point of views about incidences, political and social ideologies, and multiple areas of interest. On the other hand, few of them failed to make a difference and remained anonymous. According to a survey, out of the 42.4 % of Asian internet users, Pakistan makes for a majority of this proportion. Social Networking sites are flocked by a good number of Pakistanis on a daily basis and it is perhaps a lesser known fact but after the inception of Orkut, the third largest number of users right after Brazil and India were from Pakistan. Since the 1990s, the internet usage in Pakistan has almost doubled and it is refreshing to see a good ratio of the population of both young and old alike flocking to the internet to consume information and stay connected. With 1 out of every 10 Pakistanis being abreast with the current global and national situation through the Internet, In 2012 alone, the number of Facebook Pakistani users went up from 1.8 million to 3.6 and it has been surveyed that the users fall generally within the age bracket of 18 to 24. Today, every social networking site, be it Facebook or Twitter has quite a significant number of users from this part of the world and a good strength of the Pakistan based companies have jumped on the social media bandwagon to promote and market their products. This might just be the beginning but it has been predicted by the social media head honchos that Pakistan would soon race the other countries in terms of both advantageous social media usage and media marketing.

  3. I am very Glad that i was a part of this healthy activity and really Looking forward for more activities like these. As well as i also want to mention here that it will be better to also provide some employment opportunities for female journalist students so that CIPE and Uks both justify these activities as well as their motive of bringing women in media or journalism.

  4. v nice wonderful information