While the country is making its way towards digitalisation there is still insufficient information available to people online regarding legal matters and health problems.
According to a report published by World justice project.org suggests, Pakistanis have a moderate amount of knowledge when it comes to knowing their legal rights. Out of 10 true or false statements related to legal rights, the average respondent answered 6.1 correctly.
Acknowledging the need to spread awareness Maheen Shaikh and Khushbakht Shah Jillani, practising lawyers in Karachi who also have experience in various corporate and litigation matters including family law have taken upon themselves to educate people about their rights and health through their Adal Aur Sehat Project.
The project uses podcasts as a medium to spread information across the country.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Shaikh and Jillani revealed their very personal motivations behind launching a podcast.
“During our practice, we realised that not only are people unaware of their basic legal rights but there also seems to be an erosion of interest in matters such as collective justice and accountability."
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“The Student Solidarity Movement incident was a horrible reminder that there lacks a system where those in power can be questioned and how systematic mafias can cause such massive disruption.”
In the west, there is a shift from listening to traditional radio with more individuals listening to podcasts while commuting, an easy way to be informed about certain issues without any interruptions.
“That’s the biggest growth we’ve seen, and we’ve been covering podcasts since 2006,” said Tom Webster, a senior vice president at Edison Research, a company that tracks business trends.
There is growth in the number of young podcast listeners with 40% of the people between the ages of 12 and 24 listened to a podcast last month, which is a 10 % overall increase since 2018.
However, in Pakistan where the trend of influencers and bloggers is growing, the idea of opting to start a podcast is different.
"Instead of blog posts or videos, we decided to do weekly podcasts, as the whole podcast concept is quite new in Pakistan. Podcasts enable a discussion, make it is more interactive and our audience, can listen to it on the go."
“We believe our project is different, because not only does it cover health and legal matters in-depth but our guests are skilled & experienced professionals who speak in easy to understand Urdu so the masses can understand."
The rise of social media platforms has become a new way of sending the word across. With high smartphone penetration in the country, most of the population is equipped with a mobile phone.
According to Statista, an online portal for statistics, the percentage of the population in Pakistan who own a smartphone is forecast to reach 51% in 2020, five times higher than in 2014.
“After some research, we realised that Facebook and Youtube are two mediums which any person even in the remote areas has access to with the free 3g packages the mobile networks are offering, therefore, we thought that launching the initiative via social media platforms such as the above has the capacity to grow and reach where we want it to reach.”
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"Social media platforms have created a space for individuals to raise their concerns, engage and analyse and that is the intellectual space we wish to create through Adal Aur Sehat Project which is unfortunately absent in the country."
Furthermore, Shaikh and Jillani are committed to providing authentic information to their audience.
"Our work is legal research therefore, before any launch of the podcast we do proper thorough research ourselves to make sure that the information we are giving out is accurate. In the same vein, our health specialists are also trained and skilled professionals"
Understanding the need to go digital, Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently launched ‘Digital Pakistan’ aimed at introducing the latest technology for public welfare hence Adal Aur Sehat Project is a positive addition to the initiative.
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