“Multiplying Thoughts: Narratives and Storytelling in a Digital World” workshop by Pak Afghan Youth Forum commenced on 29th January, 2021. The whole purpose of this media workshop was to bring together Pakistani digital media influencers and have them interact while learning about the importance of narratives and the risks of exploitation. The initiative was undertake in the hopes to instill a deeper understanding and responsibility in the usage of social media by popular young influencers and digital journalists. The 3-day media workshop involved activities like lectures and various hands-on exercises, as well as a hike, and bonfire nights for the participants to enjoy and learn from.
The event boasts the inclusion of some very well-known media personalities and influencers. Some important policymakers and academicians also participated in the event as well as Senators, and national assembly members as guests. The sessions of the workshops were led by diplomats, academics, researchers, digital media producers, and more. There was even a discussion with a former army official. Day 1 of the workshop started with a session by a former diplomat, Ambassador Ghalib Iqbal who spoke on the role that digital media influencers can play in presenting Pakistan’s narrative in the global sphere. There was then a session with Ms. Mishaal Mariam Moin, a researcher and master trainer with Digital Institute Pakistan, on distinguishing facts from fake news. Following Jummah prayers and a lunch break, Mr. Ehtisham Abbas, Director of CCP Pakistan, held a session on the 10 Cs of Strategic Communication.
Day 2 started with a hike in the Margalla Hills to explore nature. Proceeding to include a session with Umer Shiraz on Exploring Narratives Using Foresight. Then, Qaiser Ali, the CEO of Nashpati Prime, a leading digital content platform, led a session about the differences between traditional and digital media, and how any opinion can be presented and any critique can be given as long as it is given tactfully, such as through satire. Then there was a session by Ahsan Hamid Durrani, a policymaker and advocate for youth inclusion, about ideas, and identities and how to question the narratives presented to us.
Day 3 began with an informal activity-based session with Mr. Salman Javed, Director General PAYF, on non-traditional security threats, information warfare and how exploitation is done through propaganda and misinformation. Then, Mr. Khurram Ellahi, PTV host, writer, and motivational speaker spoke about how narratives are shaped by poetry and storytelling. Afterward, some of the participants, especially the journalists amongst them, such as Arif Khattak, Razia Mahsud, Faizullah Khan, and Ali Zai had a detailed panel discussion about their experiences for the benefit of social media marketing influencers. The former Defonce Minister and Former Defence Secretary Lt. Gen (R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi then had an open, and detailed discussion with the participants on civil-military relations.
The opening and closing days were commemorated with dinners, where the participants were give a chance to network with one another. The presence of distinguished guests like Senator Faisal Javed, Senator Sitara Aya, Deputy Speaker National Assembly, Mr. Qasim Suri and Parliamentary Secretary, Ms. Wajiha Qamar, established the level that PAYF aims to set in the impact that these workshops hold.
For more details of the event.