How Social Media has Revolutionized Balochistan News

Social media has drawn international attention about the situation in Balochistan.

balochistan-social-mediaFrom the uprisings in the Arab world to the instability in Ukraine, social media has been a key factor in imparting ample information to the people all around the world.

In the western world, it has become very powerful. The Ferguson shooting, Ebola virus outbreak and the Ice-Bucket Challenge are few of the examples that took the United States by storm, and social media was one of the main reasons of their expansion.

The media is almost non-existent in the southwestern province of Pakistan, Balochistan, which is plagued by human rights abuses. Balochistan is among the least privileged regions in the world where the literacy rate is just above 30 percent. Journalists, human rights activists and visitors are halted from getting into the region. In these scenarios, the young generation wasted no time in adapting to social media.

No other medium has been as effective in conveying the dreadful situation in the region as the use of social media. The people of Balochistan no longer watch mainstream media for news about the region. Facebook and Twitter have become the media of information about the circumstances in Balochistan.

Earlier this year one of the most popular trends on Twitter in Pakistan was the hashtag “#longmarch.” It was a light of hope for Baloch activists to convey their direful condition to the entire world. The members of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons walked for almost 3,000 km (1,864 miles) from Quetta to Islamabad via Karachi for the safe recovery of thousands of Baloch activists who have been extra judicially abducted. People would look up on Twitter and Facebook rather than the mainstream media for authentic and realistic information about the long march.

The members of VBMP have demonstrated in front of Karachi and Quetta press clubs for more than 1,800 days now, but no news agency has updated on this sit-in protest by the relatives of Baloch missing people. Social media has updated every moment of the condition of the young activists who have frozen their studies to participate in the protest.

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Mama Qadeer, Farzana Majeed and Latif Johar have become sensations on social media for their courageous acts of peaceful protests against the human rights violations in Balochistan through social media. Mama Qadeer and Farzana Majeed are the members of VBMP who walked almost 3,000 km as a protest against the illegal disappearance of thousands of Baloch activists. Latif Johar is a young Baloch student who sat on hunger strike for the recovery of Zahid Baloch, Chairman of BSO-Azad, who has been missing since April.

Although the majority of people do not have access to the Internet, its use is increasing dramatically. There are different social networking accounts which update the latest local news and human rights violations instantly. It has drawn international attention about the situation in Balochistan. Its reachability in the region is mounting among the group of all ages.

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Changiz Khan Baluch is from Panjgur, Balochistan. He is a recipient of the Community College Initiative Program based in Phoenix, Arizona. Changiz is a blogger and contributing writer for The Baloch Hal and Bolan Voice. Follow him on Twitter @changizbaluch and blog:changizbaluchRead other articles by Changiz.