By Badil Baloch
Pak Voices, a digital news platform, has always strived to raise public interest issues in those regions where the mainstream media has a minimal presence resulting in under-reporting of their problems.
Balochistan’s strategic division Makran has also been out of the radar of the media. In this regard, Pak Voices has trained and nurtured a network of citizen journalists in mobile and data journalism to keep a check on the local authorities and powers. Among them, two brave women joined the network as citizen journalists to highlight their area’s problems despite facing several hurdles.
In Baloch conservative society, women are still confined within the boundary walls of their homes and are restricted by their parents to work in professions involving field work such as media. It’s also looked down upon by the society at large. Such attitudes prevent women from joining media profession and realizing their potential.
But Hani Ramzan and Jannat Hameed’s impactful reporting work has compelled not only their parents but the people of their area to appreciate their work which has resulted in positive interventions.
Hani travelled alone to Shadi kor dam at a distance of approximately 30 km from Pasni town to show the miserable condition of women and children facing a water crisis. She covered the issue with her mobile phone camera, revealing the extent of the crisis by taking the photos of the dry dam for the first time.
Another story on the Pasni’s emerging sand artists by her received wide appreciation as it was picked up by the mainstream media. Hani told Pak Voices about the difficulties she encountered while reporting saying, “When I joined Pak Voices, I was totally scared of the public reaction but my work won me recognition and support of my family and community.”
Another brave citizen journalist Jannat Hameed from Gwadar city has become an expert visual storyteller using her mobile device. She has showcased local issues in picture galleries and video stories which are moving the authorities to take action.
Talking about her two years journey with Pak Voices she said, “I have always been committed to working on women-focused stories in order to highlight their problems,” adding that the women folks feel comfortable to share their issues with a female journalist which gives her an edge over male citizen journalists.
She further said that she had learned a lot from the training workshops organized by Pak Voices and its parent organization Bytes For All. She says she has successfully applied the acquired skills at work for reporting and raising local issues.
Hani Ramzan and Jannat Hameed are becoming an inspiration for other Baloch women to come forward and join their hand to promote transparency and good governance through reporting in the media.
Badil Baloch is working with Pak Voices as a citizen journalist from Gwadar district.