Citizen Journalists from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India Connect on “Bridges of Youth”

Part of InternewsNext, a series highlighting 30 youth-led media initiatives.

Three young men pose for a photo
Fifteen young bloggers, citizen journalists, filmmakers and technologists gathered together for the first time last fall to discuss security issues with policymakers, NGO representatives, academics, journalists and experts in the field. (credit: Internews)

Growing out of a Kabul-based master class on peace and citizen journalism, Pul-e-Jawan (Bridges of Youth) has become a platform and ongoing exchange of ideas for young people involved in media in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

“Pul-e-Jawan is the only platform that I know where nationals of the three nations discuss and share their thoughts on regional issues,” said Hameed Tasal, a web developer and blogger from Kabul. “It provided me with an opportunity to share my own experiences and thoughts with this special group.”

Fifteen young bloggers, citizen journalists, filmmakers and technologists gathered together for the first time last fall to discuss security issues with policymakers, NGO representatives, academics, journalists and experts in the field. The workshop focused on how to use online and social media tools to address social causes, common challenges, and shared aspirations in the three countries.

Immediately following the meeting, Pul-e-Jawan became a social media network, the first of its kind in the region. The participants returned to their home countries and recruited other citizen journalists and activists to join. Facebook is the primary platform to discuss topics relevant to their communities, and the group now has 80 active members from three countries. In addition, participants and members post stories at the dedicated website www.pulejawan.net. The site receives new posts almost every week.

“The strong relationships we built with friends from the three countries, and the expanding network has made me believe we can really get stronger,” said Usama Khilji, a legal researcher and blogger from Pakistan.

Successful in-person forums were also held in Pakistan and India this spring, using Skype to link in participants from the other countries. Both events generated media attention, and #pulejawan was the most popular topic on Twitter (@pulejawan) in the respective countries during the forum, pointing to the high level of interest and relevance of a regional youth network like Pul-e-Jawan.

Learn more about Pul-e-Jawan:

Pul-e-Jawan was supported by The Ploughshares Fund, and organized by Internews in partnership with Bytes for All and the Digital Empowerment Foundation. Internews’ work in Afghanistan is supported by USAID through the Afghanistan Media Development and Empowerment Project.

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