No votes for all

Out of an estimated 20,000 journalists in Pakistan, less than one thousand are women according to a recent Gender Disparity Report published by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). Salma Jehangir, a freelance journalist with the Tribal News Network (TNN), is one of them.  

Working as an investigative journalist, Salma covers gender-sensitive issues faced by women in the northwestern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one of the most traditional areas in the country. 

Reporting on the challenges women faced taking part in the recent elections in this region, Salma explained why journalists should respect the wishes of some women voters who want to remain anonymous whilst casting their votes. 

“We should not unveil the women who don’t want to show their faces or want to hide their identity,” she says. “I have seen many women in recent elections that came to cast their votes without their husband’s permission. I even met one lady who told me she wanted to vote for change, her husband supported another party, so she had to make an excuse of going to the doctor to cast her vote.”  

...our marginalised groups have been deprived in past elections and in the recent ones as well.

Salma Jehangir, investigative journalist
Marginalised groups ignored

Salma was one of the journalists attending our pre-election workshops. 

The main thing that I observed is that our marginalised groups have been deprived in past elections and in the recent one as well,” she says. 

It’s not a new story. Underlining how little exposure is given to marginalised groups, Salma recalls that a past candidate from a Hindu background received no votes in her home constituency which is predominantly Muslim.  

In the most recent general election, one of her colleagues from TNN, Sobia Khan, a transgender woman, failed to obtain the required number of votes for a seat in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. 

She is a very strong human being and was a strong contestant,” she says. “But didn’t get the required votes because of her position as a trans person.” 

Our work in Pakistan

Since 2020, Thomson has been working with the Tribal News Network (TNN), a radio and internet news agency based in Peshawar, on ways to give minorities a voice. The work is funded by the funded by the German Federal Foreign Office through ifa, (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations). You can read Salma Jehangir’s articles on TNN here.

Annual Review 2023

Salma’s story is featured in our Annual Review 2023. For more on our work with journalists and communicators click here.  

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