“A cluster bomb blowing apart who we are and how our world is ordered.” Digital media in Pakistan has yet to take this form but we are certainly heading there.
Here are a few examples of this process of change:
Live updates: One of the biggest events of 2014 was perhaps the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb on June 15. Boots were on ground, but journalists weren’t. Given the constant updates every day from ISPR, we started a ‘hub’, archiving all the information on the North Wazistan offensive. Two months later, Imran Khan launched his Azadi march along with Dr Tahirul Qadri. From endless speeches to burning bills, from DJ Butt to Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s ‘Taubas’, from deadly clashes outside Parliament to Qadri’s ultimatums, the web desk ran live updates covering it all for four months – probably a record.
Audio clips of reporters covering attacks: The deadliest attack in our history took place on December 16, 2014 at Peshawar’s Army Public School. We watched in horror as the death toll of young students went from three to over 100 in the blink of an eye. With heavy hearts, we covered the attack as it happened, sharing all the information our tireless reporters sent us. This included audio clips reporters recorded on their phones, describing the scenes at hospitals and near the site. Tributes on our pages: Sometimes, words are not enough. The colours were taken down on The Express Tribune’s website and social media pages as we mourned the loss of over 130 children in the Peshawar attacks.
Moreover, on World Press Freedom day, The Express Tribune blanked out its pages because – let’s be honest, what better way to portray censorship. April fools stories: Last year on April fool’s day, we reported that a scheduled cricket match was cancelled. Of course, no one took the joke well. This year, we reported Zayn Malik was in Karachi, complete with pictures. Of course no one, but teenage girls, took the joke well.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2015.