One winter afternoon, I took Sabeen Mehmud to speak to Journalism students at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
Sabeen, a peace activist, had recently organised a social media summit between India and Pakistan. As we discussed the media scene in Pakistan, there was an obvious comparison with India. We wondered why the media from both side are so hostile to each other. Why do we not report beyond politics? The answer was of course strict visa policies. But in an age of the Internet, do we really need to travel to report? Can’t we report on each other sitting in our newsrooms in Mumbai or Karachi? Is it not possible to use social media for collaborative projects?
After all, social media has already linked us together. That’s how the idea of Baat Cheet was born. Sabeen helped me connect the Journalism students of Jamia with Visual Arts students of Karachi University. Over the next few months, students worked on joint projects on food, music, nightlife, cars and fashion. They even had a small project called “Why do we love Pakistan/India?”
Contrary to popular perception, it was amazing to see not just young journalists looking at each other from a different prism but also how people on both sides have so much in common. Visit baatcheet.net for more details about the projects.
The author is the Associate Editor (Digital) at Zee Media Corp and the co-founder of Baat Cheet