News from Pakistan is not usually a good thing, but this time it’s been a real eye opener.
In a country with an estimated 50 million people, Pakistan’s media landscape is still not up to scratch.
We spoke with two Pakistani journalists, one from the capital Islamabad and one from Lahore, about how their countrys media landscape has been evolving in recent years.
The first journalist we spoke to was Haseeb Ahmed, a columnist for the Pakistani newspaper Newsen.
When he was still a student in Islamabad in 2013, he was a member of a student union for students with disabilities.
He says that he was surprised by the level of access to the internet in Pakistan and the lack of access in the media in general.
“I remember the first time I went to a newspaper,” he recalls.
“My mom told me I couldn’t read the front page, because it was not translated in English.
But it was in a local language.
I couldn, so I kept reading.”
After graduating in 2016, Ahmed started freelancing, mostly for local news outlets.
“At the time, I was a bit naive,” he says.
“And I was still naïve, because I didn’t think the media would be able to survive in Pakistan.”
In his current job, Ahmed is currently writing for the same local news outlet and is hoping to break into print in the near future.
The other journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, has a much more realistic view of the situation.
“It’s not so much that I was naive or that I wasn’t aware of the state of the media, but that the state is slowly changing,” she says.
While there have been improvements in the coverage of news in Pakistan over the past year, the country still lags behind other nations in many areas, including access to quality video and audio content, according to Ahmed.
“There are still a lot of problems,” he notes.
“But I am happy that we are seeing more improvements in recent months.
And I think it is only a matter of time until we get a few major publications, like The Wall Street Journal, and they start to follow suit.”