Published Date: Nov 28, 2013
Govt. to announce positive news about You Tube anytime soon: Secy
Secretary Information and Broadcasting Dr Nazir Saeed on Wednesday
hinted at "good news" of lifting the ban on the popular video-sharing
website Youtube in coming few days. Speaking at a conference on
"Alternative Media in Pakistan: Opportunities and Challenges", organised
by Heinrich Boell Stiftung (HBS) and Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI) with the support of the German Foreign Office, the
secretary also urged media for a constructive discourse which is in line
with national agenda.
He said, "Freedom of speech is essential part of a dynamic
democracy, and the people today have more options to choose their medium
He said that the government encouraged discussions on issues
with a hope of positive outcome while keeping in view the national
agenda. To elaborate the national agenda, he said that it needed a
comprehensive debate on the media to define certain parameters of
Responding a question about the ban on YouTube‚ the secretary
said the government would soon announce "positive news" in this regard
in coming few days.
Dr Saeed also emphasised the need for the use of emerging media
such as social networking websites for promotion of progressive agendas
in the country. He remarked that the Ministry of Information was playing
an important role in curtailing negative values and yet encouraging
dialogue for positive change in the country.
German Ambassador Cyril Nunn, while speaking, lauded the courage
of Pakistan journalists in bringing facts to the public. He underscored
the need for promoting progressive discourse through alternative media
in Pakistan. This should help dispel notions of terrorism and conflict
with regards to the country, he added.
He said media was evolving in Pakistan and new generation was more interested in getting news from alternative media sources.
Speaking on the occasion, Matthias Spielkamp, Editor-in-chief,
Irights, Berlin observed that alternative media like blogs had brought
about an enormous change in public discourse as they enabled many people
to have a say over issues of public interests.
Rana Junaid, Researcher, SDPI presented findings from research
on alternative media, which focused on the multifarious meaning of
alternative media in a constantly changing media world.
The term alternative media is fraught with multiple meanings
ranging from community radio shows to mainstream news, he said, adding
that alternative media includes all media and forums, besides mainstream
media such as news channels and daily newspapers.
He further elaborated that the number of social media users in
Pakistan had been on a steady rise over the years, and this had led to
mass dialogue and discourse over various issues in the country.
Nuclear physicist and Director of the Eqbal Ahmed Center for
Public Education, Professor Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, opined that the general
mindset in Pakistan was one in which masses blame all internal ills like
terrorism, poverty, corruption and institutional degradation, among
others, as conspiracies of external forces, discounting local factors
contributing to problems in the country.
He exemplified by playing some of his own home recorded
documentaries and articles to illustrate how the internet could be used
as a means of disseminating rationality and objective thinking to the
masses by means of social media and social networking platforms on the
internet, in order to discourage the commonly held conspiracy-theorist
mindset. In his presentation on "Interactive Community Mobilisation",
Mohammad Waseem from the Interactive Resource Center, Lahore described
how interactive theater and live performances could be used as effective
means for mass dissemination of important lessons in an entertaining
and engaging way.
He also showcased how theatre performances were used in
far-flung areas to highlight societal evils, such as violence against
women, to those who lack access to primary information and learning
resources. He also lauded citizen participation in terms of contributing
to a new era of citizen journalism, which has set an excellent example
of alternative media for progressive change in Pakistan.
Sabeen Mahmud, Director of Peace Niche, Karachi, in her
presentation on "Overcoming the Tyranny of Traditional Schooling",
described the flaws in the traditional schooling system in Pakistan as
being static and non-flexible rather than dynamic.
In her view, most children were forced to study on various
subjects with complete disregard to their own skills. She exemplified
her views through reading out an excerpt of prose and poetry on the
subject in which various young children were shown to be trapped in
classrooms studying subjects that were entirely opposite of what their
true passion and innate skill was for.