Thesis on Blogging in Pakistan: @FizaUK

Blogger Fiza

Blogger Fiza

A few months ago, I got a ping from a fellow Twitterer whom, like most of the blogosphere, I had never met. She introduced herself as FizaUK studying Masters in Global Media and Post-National Communication from School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), part of the University of London. We had just conducted the 1st Annnual Pakistan Blog Awards, and FizaUK was gathering some research for her thesis on the topic of: Blogging in Pakistan: [Analyzing Dr. Afia and the Swat girl-flogging]. A few months later, Fiza Fatima Asar wrote in not only to let the Pakistani online community know that she had completed her dissertation, but that she also graduated with merit!

Our way of honoring one more shining star in the pool of growing graduates and someone who will hopefully continue to make a great contribution to the Pakistani blogosphere, we simply couldn’t let the opportunity to speak with this grad, pass. On behalf of CIO Pakistan, we’d like to extend our congratulations to @FizaUK on her achievement. If you’d like to read her thesis, click here. Remember that this is her dissertation and her hardwork. Should you wish to quote her or refer to her findings, please contact her directly. If you’d like to read a short QnA we did with her, please scroll below.

Why’d you choose this specific topic?
Blogging as a form of political or socio-political action is fast picking pace and making a difference around the world including in places where freedom of speech may be controlled such as even in Egypt and Iran. I am very impressed by the blogging community in Pakistan and wanted to highlight its work more and understand the community better. At the same time, war on terrorism and the events that have followed ever since its launch has always been a focus of my interest and women have been a point of much debate in this war.

I wanted to pick a topic that both disturbed me and challenged me immensely. Both women discussed in the dissertation belong to completely opposing socio-economic and even to a great degree cultural worlds and yet there were parallels in their stories too. I found it intriguing that both women were directly related to war on terrorism both as its victim and an actor in it. I hoped that the topic would allow me to gain more perspective on the war, women and socio-economics of Pakistan. Having said that, the fact that it is a topic in progress and the stories are still not resolved made the topic more challenging which was the part I also enjoyed the most. though.

What was the one outcome or finding that surprised you the most?
I have been blogging for a few years now and being a blogger, I have a lot of faith in the intention behind blogging and strongly believe in it as a form of expression that can question mainstream media and opinions. Even my interviews with bloggers only reiterated how blogging (especially political, or socio-political) is seen as an act of bringing about positive change in society. What I did not realize was how much of a responsbility blogging brings with it as well. The study really brought out to me how subconsciously what I write and what we all write is shaped by so many other factors that surround us and if we are not conscious of them while writing, we may be falling under the same cycle of expressions/acts that the mainstream is in.

How supportive were bloggers in trying to providing you with the info you needed?
Extremely supportive and forth-coming â€" no one asked me why I was researching or what my intentions were. Not only were they ready to answer the questions as soon as possible but they also referred me on via email or Twitter to other bloggers who may have been more pertinent to the topic. They do really act like a blogging “community” and made me very proud of the Pakistani bloggers.

One piece of advice you’d share with other Pakistani students who are searching for topics to write their dissertation on?
That question makes me feel important :) â€" I’ll try to make it worth while. I’d say choose a topic that you are most passionate about and not which you think will score more points. Take a step back and look at events from all angles, not just in black and white i.e challenge yourself by stepping in someone else’s shoes and I hope by doing this you will gain the most value out of your learnings.

PS: Another piece of advice, use Twitter for your research, its a great tool â€" I connected with all the relevant people there and found some great resources!

So you’re done! And with Merit, too! Now what?
I continue to live in London and continue to blog. I work full-time as an Online Editor for a non-profit organization called The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and am really excited about using the social media tools for the benefit of worthy causes and people. And one day maybe I can get a PhD too!

My advisor was Dina Matar
My blog:

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