Financial instability and lack of adequate resources could put an end to women journalists’ dreams of running their own digital platforms, according to renowned journalist Saddia Mazhar.
Mazhar shared her insights in an interview for a report titled “Challenges of Viability, Sustainability, and Resilience of Indie Digital Journalism,” which was published by IRADA
Mazhar explained that creating a digital media platform requires financial and technical skills, including managing a functional website, hiring staff, and coordinating with volunteers or field staff.
Mazhar also expressed her personal experience of the difficulties she faced while trying to find web developers who would take a woman journalist seriously.
“We also did not have adequate financial resources but persisted and slowly created a platform for which a dedicated team of volunteers now generate journalism content with a focus on human rights so that we could practice public interest journalism, which we find largely missing in mainstream media”, she maintained.
Mazhar noted that most Pakistani media houses are not supportive or safe spaces for women journalists to practice their craft or find opportunities to excel. Independent digital journalism platforms offer an opportunity to implement priorities, policies, and practices that promote professional journalism and provide equal opportunities for all. Such platforms also have the potential to increase women’s representation in journalism content and provide greater numbers of women with opportunities to join the media and make their voices heard.
Coping with Challenges: The State of Indie Digital Journalism Startups
The IRADA study sheds light on the increasing difficulties faced by indie digital journalism startups in maintaining their viability, sustainability, and resilience. Instead of a scientific analysis of the challenges, the report aims to present a view of the independent journalism start-up landscape from the perspectives of its practitioners, analysts, and media development supporters.
The study based on interviews with various Pakistani journalism practitioners, media freedom activists, senior journalists, and media experts. Among the respondents were Farhatullah Babar, Xari Jalil, Matiullah Jan, Amber Rahim Shamsi, Sabookh Syed, Najia Ashaar, Benazir Shah, Haroon Rashid, Hamid Mir, and Farah Zia, and others.