Asad Baig is a journalist, a techie, a media strategist, and a doer.
He is the founder of the Media Lab, Pakistan’s first incubator and accelerator for tech-based digital media startups. He is also the founder of Pakistan’s leading media development and watchdog organisation Media Matters for Democracy.
Primarily a journalist, Baig started his media journey with Geo News in 2004. A computer engineer and a coder by education, the world of media interested him essentially as a technological wonder; eventually, though his interest turned into fascination as he realised the thriving force media exerts in a democratic setup. Asad spent a long time producing shows, news and outdoor transmissions for two of the biggest news channels in the country for nearly a decade.
Eventually, his career track led towards Open Society Foundations, where he established and managed the Media Program in Pakistan for four years. His work at OSF accorded him the opportunity to play a leading role in national efforts for media freedom, media entrepreneurship & sustainability, professionalism, ethics, digital rights, internet governance and advocacy for access. Through his position, he supported nationwide efforts aimed at development in these areas. Asad has also represented the Pakistani media development sector at national and international platforms and forums.
Over these years he has developed a keen understanding of the media economy and has come to believe that the development of disruptive and unconventional business models is the key to a public driven and sustainable media 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. Baig’s work has mainly been on the integration of innovative digital technologies in the media industry, and the newsrooms — an area of work that he refers to as ‘media-tech’ and ‘journo-tech’.
Baig has also produced and authored various researches on media economy, potential political manipulation of digital platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for political traction, free expression in online spaces, using digital tools for computer-assisted data journalism, disconnect between newsrooms and the consumers, and assessment of journalism content from the lens of ‘public-interest’.
He is the driving force behind ‘the Media Lab’ and ‘Medai 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 optimises its potential as an instrument of strengthening democracy.
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 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 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.
Annam Lodhi is a journalist, writer, social activist and a food blogger. She started off as a writer for Laaltain magazine in 2012, moved to Channel 24 (Lahore) as a content writer in 2013 and became a journalist for Pakistan Today (Lahore) in 2015. Since then she has been writing on an array of topics, ranging from politics, human rights to lifestyle. Her bylines have made it to publications in Pakistan like TFT, Dawn, Tribune and internationally in Global Voices and The Coalition of Women in Journalism. Her favourite project so far has been a series of interviews she conducted with women who have faced harassment in Pakistan. Apart from hard news / features, she also wrote satire for Khabaristan Times. Annam also likes filling her spare time with food; food reviews and recipes, under her food blog “Tummy Driven”. Her published work is archived on annamlodhi.com
At Media Matters for Democracy, she is working to produce journalism content on various themes and sub-themes ranging from governance to corruption in institutions. She also regularly contributes to MMfD’s research publications and news portals.
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.
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 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 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 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.