Opinion makers

Perhaps one of the most well-known blogs in Pakistan’s history was run by Malala Yousafzai, a teenage girl from the troubled Swat region in northern Pakistan, called Diary of a Swat Schoolgirl. The blog drew attention to the threat religious extremists posed to girls’ education. Malala went on to become Pakistan’s youngest Nobel laureate, but not before the Taliban ambushed her school van and shot her in the head for opposition to their actions.

Blogging has increased in sync with the rise in Internet access. Even though the number of independent bloggers is on the rise in Pakistan, the blogs of established media groups dominate the Pakistani blogosphere. The top blogs in Pakistan in terms of traffic are published by Urdu daily newspaper Jang and the English-language dailies The Express Tribune, Dawn, and The News. Increasingly, independent bloggers prefer to publish their posts on established news sites because of the greater exposure they offer.

With the increased use of the online space, the challenges confined to print and electronic media practitioners have also visited upon those voicing their opinions online. In January 2017, at least half a dozen bloggers and social media users became victims of apparent enforced disappearance in separate incidents. Some of the individuals accused state agencies of involvement after they were released.