Beena Sarwar: Editor, writer, media consultant, documentary filmmaker with degrees in Studio Art, English Literature and Language (Brown University) and a Masters in TV Documentary (Goldsmiths College). My focus is broadly human rights, including inter-related issues like media, gender, culture and peace. I started out with The Star in Karachi, and have been on several launch teams – Features Editor at The Frontier Post when it started its Lahore edition, founding editor of The News on Sunday, and a producer at Geo TV, Pakistan’s first 24/7 news channel when it started in 2002. I’ve been part of Himal SouthAsian since its launch in 1997, and was invited to help launch The Real News (web television news) in Toronto, now based out of Washington DC. I was the principal stringer in Pakistan for InterPress Service for several years in the 1990s, and still file occasional reports for them from my current perch in Cambridge MA. I’ve been a featured writer at Chowk.com and have made several documentaries independently and for TV channels like Geo, VPRO (Dutch television) and the Video Journalists Movement. I was op-ed Editor at The News International before going on a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard. My articles have been featured in publications around the world, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Guardian, Global Post, Latitude News, and publications in Italy, Poland, Holland, Bangladesh, Nepal and India, besides contributing opinion and analysis to various media outlets, including BBC, VOA, Huffington Post, and Austrian radio. I edit Aman ki Asha (hope for peace), a platform for regional peace started by the largest media groups of Pakistan and India, the Jang Group of Pakistan and The Times of India.
I’m on Twitter @beenasarwar
Public speaking: I’ve given talks and led workshops and seminars at educational, international, government, non-government and journalist organisations and institutes around the world.
How this blog came about: In 1998 I started a newsletter on personal and political issues for friends and colleagues, that developed into a yahoogroup (beena-issues) in 2002. The idea was to share articles, reports and comments on current issues, including my own reports, articles and comments, and my column ‘Personal Political’. From that emerged this blog in Feb 2009. Becoming Teabreak.pk’s Featured Blogger, March 2010 got me taking myself more seriously as a blogger;; ditto the Best Blog from a Journalist award at the Pakistan Blog Awards 2011.
Thanks to Shahidul Alam of Drik who walked me through the baby-steps of blogging at the sidelines of a Panos meeting in Kathmandu in 2010, that I’ve built on with occasional help from techie friends. And thanks for the blog name ‘Journeys to Democracy‘ and encouragement to Naveed Malik, Harvard Kennedy School 2008, who interned with me at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy when I was a Fellow there. Thanks to my darvaish techie friend Sabhat Ashraf for helping me improve this blog further.