When one thinks of the mangled state of the current sociopolitical climate of Pakistan, many different clusters of chaos and brazen neglect spring to mind: ignorance to environmental issues, sexual assault, the discriminatory treatment of the Shia community and the transgender population. However, what may go unnoticed is the media: more particularly, the news cycle and what monopolising forces choose to emphasise.
Giants in the Pakistani news industry appear aged, biased, and tone-deaf to emotions or ethics in their delivery. Hence, now – more than ever – it is important that one look to alternative, independent sources for a well-rounded scope of pressing national matters. This unfulfilled need in the market for news has given rise to individual-run media and news organisations on social media platforms such as Instagram. One example of this is Leftistan.
Leftistan is an online news and media organisation, based mainly on Instagram where it has accumulated nearly 13000 followers since its inception.
As the name suggests, Leftistan offers a limelight on national issues that often face minimisation and neglect at the hands of traditional media outlets and news sources. Though the name poses a liberal (left) leaning perspective, the organisation’s bio on Instagram asserts that the term Leftistan means the ‘belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes.’
Such a statement, of course, is in stark contrast with the actions and words to which media giants give platform (read: slut-shaming on Samaa News). Yet, Leftistan lives up to its promise.
Each day, the news and media organisation provides its followers with news of monumental milestones such as celebrating the recent appointment of a trasngender woman as the Belgian deputy Prime Minister. It also shares infographics which relay important, unbiased, and whole accounts of pressing matters, both national and international.
More recently, Leftistan has started to feature submissions from its followers, detailing personal accounts of cultural issues such as honour killings.
All in all, Leftistan is important in its role as a news outlet, media organisation, and platform for voices that would go unheard – if not suppressed – by its larger, monopolising counterparts.