My experience as a blogger for The Express Tribune’s blogs page
Today is The Express Tribune’s five year anniversary and while it is a jubilant moment for the whole publication, it is one that is also tinged with reflection.
The publication started as the first Pakistani newspaper which, partnered with the International Herald Tribune initially and the International New York Times now, offered a mix of domestic and global news to the masses. It provided a different perspective by allowing blogs from ordinary individuals on its website, opening up a whole different field of “online” or “citizen” journalism. Additionally, Express Tribune has greatly utilised social media like Twitter and Facebook to spread the news and this has mushroomed its influence in Pakistan, with other English language newspapers now following suit.
The publication is a true trendsetter.
Although The Express Tribune has revolutionised the way news is dispatched, it has been a difficult road and one that has been hampered with sadness. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to practice journalism due to prolific attacks on media personnel and The Express Tribune is no stranger to courting controversy.
On January 14, 2014, the media group’s van was ambushed resulting in the death of three of its workers – driver Khalid, technician Waqas and security guard Ashraf. Prior to this attack, The Express Tribune office in Karachi was targeted twice, in August 2013 and then again in December 2013. Gunfire and bombs were thrown at their offices in an attempt to sabotage operations. Although no fatalities were reported, a security guard was injured in the first attack and an aura of fear developed. However, despite working under such threats, the newspaper has thrived and will continue to stand tall in the face of repression, terrorism and censure.
My first interaction with The Express Tribune Blogs came in October 2013 when I wrote about the difficulty of travelling if you are a Pakistani and how airlines behave with such blatant discrimination towards Pakistanis. This was received with praise by the staff at The Express Tribune and it ignited a fruitful relationship with the newspaper, which continues to this very day.
I now have a resourceful avenue to air my thoughts on any particular point of interest. Some of my blogs are controversial, like the one I wrote on “Why do Pakistani men have a roving eye?” to more thought provoking pieces, like my blog on “10 situations which highlight why educating women is vital in Pakistan”. No matter how people opine, the point of such blogs is to ignite a debate and make us stretch the limits of our thinking beyond societal constraints. No other publication encourages such freedom to think like The Express Tribune and in a conservative society like Pakistan such revolutionary thinking is desperately needed to break the chains of unquestioned acceptance of the status quo.
My impression of The Express Tribune will always be positive and I am very impressed with the professionalism the staff has shown in their dealings with me. I wish the newspaper and its hard working staff the very best and, here’s to another five years of great stories, suspense and a whole lot of drama!
Congratulations to The Express Tribune! The whole team should be very proud of itself.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.