Tag Archives: bloggers

US Consul General Praises Pakistani Bloggers

Pakistan Social Media Summit

Last week, Pakistani bloggers met at a conference to discuss social media, politics, and strategies for using technology to strengthen democracy and open governance in their country. The event, Network! Pakistan’s First International Social Media Summit was sponsored by PC World Pakistan and CIO Pakistan, both leading publications in the field of information technology.

Also at the event was US Consul General William Martin who opened the conference with words of praise for Pakistan’s bloggers and other social media activists.

The summit started off with a welcome note by the US Consul General, William Martin talked about how the bold and active approach assumed by Pakistan’s blogging community ‘validated and energized his vision for Pakistan.’ There are a number of ways in which Pakistanis interact with Information Technology, and the online social media is just one of those. The Consul General praised the efforts made by Pakistan’s social media activists and said, “People here take extraordinary risks to try and inform the world about the happenings around them, and we must work with them and support the whole idea of freedom of press. We all have a responsibility to try and use this powerful tool, the social media, to try and bring about a positive change in the world around us.”

Pakistan has a vibrant social media where bloggers like Raza Rumi, Sana Saleem and group blogs like Pak Tea House are driving a progressive pro-democracy political discussion in Pakistan. By supporting these efforts, the US can help empower more Pakistanis to have a greater voice and create a positive future for their nation.

Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws Institutionalize Injustice

Pakistanis protest the country's blasphemy laws

The case of Asia Bibi has commentators in Pakistan’s media speaking out against the nation’s blasphemy laws, archaic leftovers from Gen. Zia-u-Haq’s dictatorship in the 1980s – a relic more of Zia’s strategy to secure his grip on power than any personal religious zeal.

While no legal execution has occured under these laws, dozens of individuals are sitting on death row, and over a thousand people have been convicted of violating these laws. Worse, the laws are often used to justify violent acts of vigilantism. The threat of accusation, conviction and death hangs over the heads of Pakistan’s religious minorities.

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New York Times' Problematic Pakistan Coverage: "Fake Degrees"

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in Pakistan announcing $500 million in new civilian aid projects, the New York Times has been reproducing misleading narratives from Pakistan’s political opposition. Over the next few days, I’ll be responding to the most egregious of these stories in order to correct the record, provide much-needed context for American readers, and, hopefully, inspire the journalists at the Times to more adequately fact-check their reports on Pakistan while being mindful of possible political influence underlying their stories.

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