Pakistanis Talk Change Online
While the Pakistani government deals with issues over U.S. relations, the people of that country are finding that social media is a great place to speak their minds. Whether it's blogging, Facebook, or Twitter, the people of Pakistan are taking advantage of the internet more and more - not unlike citizens of other nations that have had uprisings during "Arab Spring."
A Washington Post article highlights a few of the people taking advantage of the freedom offered by social media in a nation where the press is still largely under the control of the government, one way or another. While social media sites offer direct freedom of speech to the masses, online versions of newspapers are also getting their feet wet when it comes to offering their readers opportunities to voice their opinions and debate.
The Express Tribune is one paper that offers local readers the opportunity to blog and discuss issues that matter to them. The site looks like many newspaper sites from the U.S., with news, lifestyle, and politics pages. The blog page offers posts from readers that many westerners would not necessarily expect in a nation where the government rarely allows full freedom of the press. Posts like "Pakistan Hates Women" enjoy high profile ranking on the front page, while other potentially politically charged items litter the listings.
Whether the government just hasn't figured out how to keep sites like this under some degree of control, or it is letting it slide doesn't really matter. The bottom line is that the people of Pakistan have found their voice of dissent against their government, and are using it loud and proud on the internet. Does this mean that Pakistan is ripe to be the next nation to see uprisings? Perhaps. Or maybe the people will be satisfied for at least a little while with the ability to speak freely via social media. Stopping them now would only invite a great deal of trouble - virtually guarantee uprisings. No matter what, as long as the Pakistanis are sharing on the social networks, the rest of the world gets an insider view of what is happening in that country.