Growing Blogsphere in Pakistan

The first ever International Urdu Bloggers Conference was recently held in Lahore with around 70 Urdu participants. The Pakistani blogsphere is growing fast. Bloggers are eager to show that Pakistan is fertile ground for literary talent.

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Selasa, 26 Mar 2013 20:49 WIB

Author

Mudassar Shah

Growing Blogsphere in Pakistan

Pakistan, Blogger

The first ever International Urdu Bloggers Conference was recently held in Lahore with around 70 Urdu participants.

The Pakistani blogsphere is growing fast.

Bloggers are eager to show that Pakistan is fertile ground for literary talent.

Muhammad Hassan Miraj is one of the most popular bloggers in Pakistan.

He started blogging in 2011 with articles challenging traditional values.

He was so popular that the national media group Dawn published his blog.

“In Pakistan, media groups are very influential. They have a policy line which needs to be followed. So if you have to write free of any influence, you have to be impartial. Blogging is the best media, you can reach out to people. You don’t have to be commercial about your blog. You can give your honest opinion which is precise, crisp and offer analysis.”

Miraj is now working for the Federal Government.

He believes bloggers can evolve into established writers and journalists.

“I want to bring out the hidden history of this portion of the world and I want to send a message across that this place is not always a breeding ground of terrorists and the real version of history. You can call it archiving human history. This is what I do. This is a time we should come up with a truth.”

The Urdu blogosphere became popular in 2007 when President Musharaf declared a state of emergency and heavy restrictions were imposed on the mainstream media.

Two years later, Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai, came to public attention when she wrote blogs campaigning for girl’s education.

Malala was shot by the Taliban last year and she’s been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

There are now around 150 Urdu bloggers – hailed by some as the ‘think tank of the new era’.

But they receive threats for what they write, says one blogger from the Swat Valley who wants to remain anonymous.

“I write things in my blog which I can’t express to anyone. It would be difficult for me to express my thoughts and feelings in any other languages except Urdu. Everyone is afraid to talk about the militants and the army in Swat and blogging is the best way to describe what’s really happening. I feel relaxed when I write my blog. I’ve received threatening emails which makes me worried, but I am not well-known like Malala and I wouldn’t like to disclose my identity like she did. She was a brave girl.”

At the first ever International Urdu Blogging Conference, bloggers from Pakistan, Europe and Canada shared their experiences.

Mohsin Abbas is the President of the Asian Canadian Journalist Association and the organiser of the conference.

“I think the conference will create new opportunities for the bloggers and people who want to blog in Urdu Language. A lot of people need to be equipped with tools and techniques. Masses are present in social media scene but not blogging on that level so I wanna divert the time, they have been wasting on some social media outlets for just commenting putting funny pictures. I want them to do something creative and I think this is a good start.”

M Bilal writes popular books on how to use computers and how to start your own blogs in Urdu.

He wants to attract more people to blogging.

“Urdu bloggers do not get anything from their blogs while different private companies sponsor and give ads to English language bloggers in Europe and Canada. Urdu bloggers feel inferior to English bloggers. Blogging has become a profession for many bloggers in Europe and Canada these days, while Urdu bloggers write as volunteers .....but how long they can write as volunteers? We’ll have many great Urdu bloggers once the internet reaches out to our villages too and we can compete with English bloggers.”




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