Round-table Discussion on Online Voices

KARACHI: Journalists and social activists stressed the need of creating a digital space for the community to ensure promotion of progressive values in the society.

The views were expressed in an exclusive roundtable conference attended by Social Activist Taha Ahmed Khan, Digital Influencer Arsalan Khan, Documentary Filmmaker Manal Khan, Lawyer Liaquat Advocate, Peace Activist AsifaZehra, Journalist ZoyaAnwerNaqvi, Clinical Psychologist DrHina Imran, Social Activist QuratulAinTejani, Scholar NajamSuharwardy and Activist Kamal Faridi among others. 

“Media is a mirror it reflects reality, the social media also shows what the society is in reality,” said Arsalan Khan in the roundtable meeting. “In order to create a positive impact on social media, we have to take into account the medium of content as well. We can’t expect the community to engage with us when our message is solely in English. The content in English language has a small reach compare to Urdu.”

Social activist Taha Ahmed Khan expressed his concern over the lack of regulations on social media, adding that the state and society should join hands in order to reach consensus over the regulations acceptable to all. “Awareness is the key here. Without digital awareness we won’t be able to meet our desired results,” he added.

Clinical Psychologist DrHina Imran noted that she has observed suicidal tendencies in the age group between 9 to 12 years due to low esteem, lack of self-respect and dignity perpetuated by bullying on social media.

“It’s concerning to see high use of social media by children. It creates psychological problems. The academic institutions must have compulsory social media counseling sessions,” she said. “There needs to be a clear guidance on this issue.”

Scholar Najam Suharwardy said that there is a dire need for the people to understand the meanings of the word as different perceptions of the language creates issues on the social media. On the issue of regulation, he said that it must be taken into account, who is going to draw the red line? “We have to know what extremism is before tackling it. Should it be an overdose of political correctness or something else,” he maintained.

Jamal Siddiqui observed that the government should urge social media platforms to launch their regional offices in Pakistan, so that the state and society can efficiently work with them to delink undesirable content on social media.

Kamal Faridi said that there is a serious need for the government to ensure provision of a one-window operation to deal with the issue sand complaints linked with the social media; he added that the department must have civil society representatives as its major stakeholders.

The Media Baithak serves as a community space for cultural engagement of media and civil society representative. It gives platform to distinguished voices from the fields of journalism, politics, academia and other fields to discuss contemporary issues of the society.

The organization has previously conducted sessions on the role of poetry in combating violent extremism, women empowerment, the role of qawwali in promoting positive values, journalists’ training on social media and the role of media in spreading peace and harmony in the society.

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