‘Independent digital news platforms are the future’ | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

‘Independent digital news platforms are the future’

Pakistan Press Foundation

Independent and responsible digital news platforms are the future of journalism. They can play an important role in promoting local news and readership even as they address increasing misinformation and monetary concerns.

These views were expressed by senior journalists speaking at the Capstone Project launch ceremony of the Pakistan Entrepreneurial Journalism Program (PEJP), organized by Global Neighborhood for Media Innovation (GNMI), showcasing 20 digital news platforms that cover issues such as gender rights, climate and wildlife protection and economy among others.

The participants, individuals and startups, presented their digital news platforms before four panels divided thematically – gender representation and social media, ethics as core consideration for localized digital news platforms, climate and wildlife protection: necessity, not a choice, and the relationship between the economy and understated societal values.

Senior journalist and anchorperson Amber Shamsi, a panelist for the gender representation and social media section, pointed out that mainstream media lacks diversity and creativity. In contrast, digital news platforms allow journalists to cover a diverse range of issues from their perspective, she said. Digital platforms provide freedom and space to women journalists that mainstream media does not offer, elaborated Shamsi.

Of the 20 news platforms that were launched at the event, five focused on women and gender across the country, five on climate change and wildlife and the remaining catered to a range of audiences including persons with disability, parents of children with special needs, people who work in media and advertising and others.

Speaking on the panel for monetization and autonomy, veteran journalist and Centre for Excellence in Journalism Director Kamal Siddiqui said this would be a major challenge for these channels.

He said he was happy to see the emergence of independent media platforms in Pakistan but ensuring sufficient funds and maintaining autonomy will be challenging. Another problem is the rise of misinformation on social media, he said, adding that nonetheless he was confident these platforms would be the reflection of journalism in the future. “Journalism matters. It helps inform citizens of what is happening around them and in the world. Your work is critical. Such programs empower journalists to find new streams of income. Thanks to technology it is easier than before to work independently.”

Earlier, in her keynote address broadcast journalist and GNMI President Najia Ashar said that the objective of PEJP was to provide essential training to journalists in content production, digital marketing and monetization besides resources to help them launch their independent news projects. “It was a learning process not only for our participants but also for us. A pool of 20 national and international experts in media, technology, and business was engaged in conducting the training with us. They also provided them one-on-one mentoring and today we are launching 20 independent digital news startups.”

Senior journalists Mazhar Abbas, Gharidah Farooqi, Ayesha Bakhsh, Aoun Sahi, Tanzila Mazhar, Haroon Rashid, Sabookh Syed, Afia Salam, Zofeen T Ebrahim, Faisal Karim, Iffat Umer Rizvi, Tehreen Azeem, Masood Raza, Lubna Jerar Naqvi, Uzma Alkarim and Nadia Naqi, growth hacker and Bramerz co-founder Badar Khushnood, entrepreneur Marjan Arbab and Matthew Ference participated in the virtual event.

The project was supported by the United States Consulate General in Karachi.

Source: Express Tribune

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