Media activism: The power of the pen

Through the power of the pen Haroon Janjua has been highlighting issues faced by people stricken with poverty, and vulnerable communities facing hardships within their lives in Pakistan.

Newspapers have always a greater number of circulation and are read by large portion of the public. In countries like Pakistan, where the literacy rate is very low, this type of writing proves to be a long lasting asset in changing public behavior.

The suggestions and recommendations with the core ideas of researched writings enable communities and individuals working on social issues to act and bring change in the lives of the poor communities.

Janjua is a 2015 UNCA Award Winner and holds 2015 IE Business School Prize for best journalistic work on Latin America’s economy in Asia. He is 2015 Global Media Award winner by The Population Institute Washington DC. He is a finalist Thomson Foundation Young Journalist from the Developing World FPA Award 2015 and finalist 2015 Host Writer prize.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

To educate, inform and explore the issues people face in Pakistan, including modern slavery, impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities including nomads groups, drought in the Tharparkar desert in Pakistan and labor rights.

He is 2014 International Green Apple Award winner on climate change and finalist 2014 IE Business School Prize for best journalistic work on Asian Economy.

HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED

Through in-depth reports in print and online media the objectives are achieved on the grounds of raising a voice to policy level.

His writings had given new lives to the vulnerable communities for whom he had done reportage in the past several years.

Links of stories:
http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/brick-kiln-workers-the-endless-battle/

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/deserting-thar/

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/trading-unity/

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/drought-of-change/

http://pique.pk/millennium-development-goals-unachieved/

http://pique.pk/living-at-the-mercy-of-climate/

http://pique.pk/the-looming-threat/

http://pique.pk/weathering-the-storm/

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/education-for-nomads/

http://www.dawn.com/news/1135296/forced-labour-imperils-migrant-workers-to-incarceration

http://www.dawn.com/news/1142414/voiceless-the-unending-plight-of-female-labourers

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/Columnist/haroon-mustafa-janjua

CAMPAIGN INNOVATIONS

Like many other investigative reporting reliable data and government sources are missing and it is the culture of the Pakistan government to not update the various departments on time.

So he relied on the human sources for their narrative - who are the appropriate people with familiarity of the issue he opted.The databases are used from various sources to make these reportages more authentic and useful and this data has been used to give various highs and lows of the spectrum. These data trends are used effectively by making connections with the core issuess in the field.

The court records were also checked by contacting different lawyers, since the matter was personal so the data of such cases has not been added in the final reports.

CAMPAIGN IMPACT

Janjua's in-depth writings have changed the lives of the people in various ways. The affected persons and communities were given their due rights after his work on these communities throughout Pakistan, through fair and accurate journalism.

After his story (http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/brick-kiln-workers-the-endless-battle/) The Humans of New York, Brandon Stanton, had taken the photographs and narrative of Syeda Ghulam Fatima, and shared Fatima's campaign and collected over $2 Million to end bonded labor in Pakistan. Here is the link. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/19/asia/pakistan-humans-new-york-bonded-labor/

CHALLENGES FACED

The poverty and illiteracy in Pakistan is subtle so dealing with, and picking, deserving people for studying their hardships remains a big challenge among the majority of the population.

Pitching stories to and satisfying editors at desks, who are relatively unaware of t ground realities and importance of stories.

LESSONS LEARNT

Being an independent journalist, prior knowledge and understanding of the issues can only be achieved by making contact with the local people of the story area and frequent visits to the place.

Focusing on the background knowledge is the key factor in developing a successful story which can change the lives of the people.