Media Matters for Democracy’s Team

We have a young but dynamic team, passionate about progressive development in Pakistan’s media industry and cyber space. We have over 40 years of collective experience in policy advocacy, research and media and journalism in Pakistan. We believe in the strength of new/digital media and are working to ensure that the mainstream media in Pakistan is well positioned to make the best use of it.

Team Members

Asad Baig – Executive Director

Asad Baig started his media journey with Geo in 2004. Eventually, his career track led towards Open Society Foundations, where he managed the Media Program for four years. His work at OSF accorded him the opportunity to play a leading role in national efforts for media safety, professionalism, ethics, open internet and advocacy for access. He has supported nationwide efforts on these areas and has been a founding member of Pakistan Coalition on Media Safety, PCOMS, Pakistan Coalition for Ethical Journalism, PCEJ and Alliance for Access. Asad has represented the Pakistani media development sector at national and international platforms. Over these years he has developed a keen understanding of media economy and has come to believe that the development of alternate economic models is the key to a professional and sustainable industry. He has also become increasingly interested in the issue of ideological polarity in the media and is now working on showcasing alternate narratives and ideologues. He is the driving force behind Media Matters for Democracy. He passionately believes in the power of media and wants to play his part in ensuring that the media in Pakistan embraces its true value, projects progressive ideals and optimizes its potential as an instrument of strengthening democracy.

Sadaf Khan – Director Programs

Sadaf Khan has been associated with media and media development sector in Pakistan since 2002. She has worked with major print and broadcast outlets in the country, mostly behind the camera and has dabbled in all forms of writing and production. For the last four years she has been working with media development CSOs, mainly for policy advocacy, media ethics, journalist safety and capacity building for development, data and digital journalism. Sadaf has had the opportunity to publish multiple research reports on thematic media content in Pakistan and has worked specifically on conflict related reporting in national and regional outlets. With a desire to expand her academic and knowledge base, she took a year off from work, to study development communications and media/ ICT governance policies at the London School of Economics as a Chevening Scholar. Her year at the LSE has made her increasingly interested in progressive, and effective regulation for mainstream media, effective policies for open and secure internet and incorporation of digital technologies in mainstream journalism. She is also interested in policy and content research and specifically enjoys deconstruction of discourse in media content.

Raja Mohsin Saleem – Director Operations

Raja Mohsin Saleem got his first taste of media at Express TV. Working at the assignment desk in Islamabad, the bureau that produces the largest volume of news content, Mohsin was literally at the epicenter of news production. He worked with a large team of reporters, cameramen and technicians, effectively managing the day to day operations of the news cycle. From Express News, he moved to Dunya TV, and managed a new team of reporters that went on to launch the channel. It was here that he eventually started to get more and more concerned about the state of media and the lack of professionalism. He eventually made a career switch from main newsroom and started working with Intermedia Pakistan on professionalism and media safety. He was responsible for the production of a monthly newsletter, commenting on the state of media and threats to the journalist community. He also managed the operations side of various capacity development initiatives and policy consultations with media stakeholders. At Media Matters for Democracy Mohsin will be bringing his expertise of media management and supervising operations at both organizational and project implementation levels.

Waqas Naeem – Program Manager

Waqas is a journalism instructor and former journalist. He has previously worked as a news reporter at The Express Tribune, the Scripps Howard News Service, and the Columbia Missourian. He has taught journalism and communication courses as an assistant professor at the NUST department of mass communication. Waqas completed his MA from the Missouri School of Journalism and was trained in data journalism at the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR). His research interests include digital journalism practices, political economy of the news media, and the concerns related to the rights of access to information and freedom of expression. Waqas in Media Matters for Democracy is leading a data and investigative journalism project, that aims to produce public interest journalism content mainly using Right to Information as an information collection tool. As a part of this initiative, Media Matters for Democracy is also demonstrating the potential of RTI as a tool for journalists. The initiative is primarily aimed at creating a demand for data journalism in news consumers and inspiring mainstream journalists to incorporate data elements into their stories and to access public data through RTI.

Hira Khan – Assistant Program Manager

Hira has a Masters in International Relations from Iqra University and works to create journalism content using Right to Information.  Hira has a keen interest in journalism and aims to excel in the field of data journalism. She voluntarily teaches underprivileged children in the mostly rural schools of Islamabad and on the side, is also pursuing her M.Phil in International Relations. Hira have excellent writing skills and contribute regularly to Media Matters for Democracy’s blog site mediamatterspakistan.org. Hira at Media Matters for Democracy is working on a data and investigative journalism project, that aims to produce public interest journalism content mainly using Right to Information as an information collection tool. As a part of this initiative, Media Matters for Democracy is also demonstrating the potential of RTI as a tool for journalists. The initiative is primarily aimed at creating a demand for data journalism in news consumers and inspiring mainstream journalists to incorporate data elements into their stories and to access public data through RTI. The news stories produced under this initiative will be hosted pakrtidata.org and will be actively shared through MMfD’s social media accounts.

Komal Mughal – Assistant Project Manager

Pursuing her M.Phill in International Development Studies from Iqra University, Komal has been associated with the development sector since 2011. For the past six years, she has worked with various international and local NGOs, Oxfam, The Human Development Foundation, The Friedrich Naumann Foundation, European Union and The Asia Foundation to name a few.  She has mainly worked on the issues related to education, Right to Information, civic education, budget transparency and accountability.   Komal takes lead at event management for MMfD. She has organised, facilitated and moderated various trainings, seminars and similar events at MMfD.  Komal has produced training manuals and publications for civic education, leadership and influence, budget transparency and engaging youth in elections. She aims to excel in the area of transparency and accountability and media and communications. Komal is spearheading an initiative to bridge the gap between broadcasters and news consumers through engagement and citizen journalism. Among other milestone, this initiative aims to develop and deploy a citizen journalism mobile application to allow citizens to produce content that lands directly into a newsroom.

Tala Raza – Program Manager

Over the period of five years, Talal Raza has worked with renowned media organisations and NGOs including The Nation, Geo News, International Research and Exchanges Board, United States Institute of Peace and Privacy International.   In the past, he has worked on various policy issues including terrorism, cyber terrorism, digital rights and local bodies system. Talal recently completed his MPhil in Peace and Conflict Studies from National Defence University and also holds Bachelors in journalism from University of the Punjab. He has expertise in peace building, internet governance and digital rights.  At Media Matters for Democracy Talal is spearheading an initiative which aims to politicise and bring in the mainstream the digital rights issues that often stay under media’s radar. Titled ‘Media for Progressive Internet Governance and Digital Rights’, this initiative aims to both, produce and curate exclusive news stories and related content to assist and help journalists in producing a more nuanced journalistic content with a focus on digital rights and implications on people’s fundamental rights. News content produced under this initiative will be hosted at digitalrightsmonitor.pk

Zafarullah Nizamani – Project Lead (Coordination)

Zafarullah Nizamani is a media and development communications professional with more than 10 years of experience working with mainstream electronic media outlets and NGOs. With academic background in mass communication, his core competencies include media engagement for development, stakeholders networking, capacity building and project planning and management. In Pakistan, he contributed in promoting ethical journalism by sensitising and building capacities of journalists on issues of vulnerable groups especially women, children and minorities. He led the Secretariat of Pakistan Coalition of Ethical Journalism as a coordinator at Rozan. Leading the process of development of comprehensive and collective Code of Conduct for electronic and print media is another feather in his cap. The diversity in experience has made him capable to lead the work related to media development, advocacy, communication strategy development, public policy, capacity building and project management. At Media Matters for Democracy, Zafar contributes to various projects by taking up on media and community engagement and assists on outreach initiatives. Zafar is also leading the deployment of Awam, a citizen journalism portal that MMfD has developed, into mainstream media houses.

Muhammad Ali – Finance Manager

Muhammad Ali brings in over 8 years of professional experience in Accounting & Finance. His exposure includes working in Not-for-Profit organisations, manufacturing industry, Project & Management Consultants and Financial Services Sector. Ali has served at various managerial level positions at different local and multinational organisations and had been instrumental in contributing towards their success. An M.Com, ACPA and ACCA by qualification, Ali is responsible for establishing overall structure of Finance Department of MMfD.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       .

Aniqa Haider – Design Manager

Aniqa is an Islamabad based visual artist. She graduated from National College of Arts in 2014 and has been working with various organisations as a freelance graphics designer and illustrator for 5 years. Since her graduation, she has acquired experience in various fields of art like teaching, curation, tourism and commercial design. Aniqa leads the design side of Media Matter’s for Democracy publications, mobile phone applications, websites and social media pages.