In a March 22 live webcast, over 1,100 people tuned in as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale and Alex Evans, Senior Advisor to the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, sat down for a discussion with Murtaza Solangi, Director General of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. Hosted by New America Foundation and moderated by its President, Steve Clemons, the discussion focused on the importance of radio to education, grassroots empowerment, and countering extremist voices.
Mr. Solangi described the explosive growth of the media sector in Pakistan, and the continued importance of using radio, in innovative combination with mobile technologies, to reach people. Radio dominates in news and information to rural areas of Pakistan, and 69 percent of rural households own a mobile phone. Under Secretary McHale addressed the challenge of communicating in today's competitive media environment. "It's not just talking at people, it's engaging with them: talking with them, having discussions, dialogues and debates... That two-way communication -- of listening to people, of engaging with them -- is critically important.”