One of the largest changes of the twenty first century, so far, is expansion and further development of the internet media. Instant messaging, integration of audio, video, graphics and texts, and the invention of technologies that can transmit such a rich content across the globe in split seconds is a wonderful experience indeed. These advances have enabled hitherto powerless consumers of news and views to become content producers and publishers. Millions of blogs, websites and profiles on various social networks stand as a testimony for this fact.
We recently participated in a workshop held for new media practitioners. The jargon being used was ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Development) and the event a review workshop organized by Panos South Asia in the peaceful and simply beautiful capital of the mountainous Nepal.
Zulfiqar and I represented two modern media and knowledge initiatives nurturing in the remote valleys of Gilgit – Baltistan. Zulfiqar was officially participating as chief editor of Karakuram Knowledge Highways, the first and only development journal of GB, and I represented Team Pamir Times as its founder and chief editor. Zulfiqar, of course, also represented Pamir Times as its founder and coordinator. There were some other new media practitioners from Pakistan, including Jafar, Zeeshan and Waqar Mustafa of South Asia Media Monitor. Indians, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis and Nepalese ICT practitioners also participated in the workshop, sharing highly valuable information about the new media and its numerous potentials.
I delivered a 25 minutes presentation on the progress of Pamir Times and its role in information management and dissemination, youth engagement and virtual integration of the global GB Diaspora. I specially mentioned and thanked our volunteers who are using their time, knowledge and energies for creating an informed society.
Discussing our experiences, the role of Pamir Times during the Silk Route Dry Port controversy, GBLA elections, Ghizar unrest and, most recently, the Attabad Landslide disaster and Gojal Lake hazard were discussed and presented as success stories.
We also proposed that in the future Panos South Asia shall train and equip young citizen journalists from the remote parts of South Asia to help them represent their societies in an effective and efficient manner during different situations, including natural and men made disasters.
It was an enjoyable experience overall and a wonderful knowledge sharing and learning opportunity.
While the workshop came to an end a new journey seemed to have taken off. Sanat Chakraborthy from Asaam – India said, “We mountain people are the same everywhere. If we don’t live intelligently we will not be able to survive”. I agreed and we resolved to work together to employ new media for betterment of the mountain societies of the world.