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Activists go ‘digital’ to protest Mudassar Naaru’s alleged disappearance

Naaru is a journalist who went missing in 2018

SAMAA | - Posted: Aug 31, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 weeks ago
Posted: Aug 31, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 weeks ago

Photo: Twitter

Journalists, activists and followers came together on Monday for a “digital protest” against the alleged disappearance of journalist and blogger Mudassar Mehmood Naaru.

Several demonstrations have been held over the years against Naaru’s alleged disappearance since 2018. The latest is #FindNaaruAlive, which demanded the journalist’s “immediate and safe” release. It was a digital protest held across Twitter and Facebook.

The organisers explained to SAMAA Digital how the protest was going to unfold.

“It’s fairly simple. We have announced the hashtags we will be using and everyone will be tweeting using those hashtags for a few hours.” 

The three hashtags #FindNaaruAlive, #MudassarNaaru, and #EndForcedDisappearances had been posted nearly a month before the protest. It kicked off at 7pm on Monday and started gaining momentum around 9pm. Some tweets suggest that people were using the hashtag well past 1am.

#MudassarNaaru emerged as the most popular hashtag and started to climb Twitter trends after 9:30pm.

Mudassar Naaru digital protest
Photo: Twitter

The tweets followed a standard format. The protesters gave their names, pledged that they stand by Naaru and demanded his release.

A number of tweets carried a photo of Naaru’s son.

Several big names joined the protest, including Hamid Mir and Asma Shirazi.  

#FindNaaruAlive is an example of digital advocacy. It refers to the use of technology to inform, contact, or mobilise a group of people around a specific cause or event. Digital advocacy may involve websites, emails, texts and blogs, but the most common and convenient way of registering a protest online is by using hashtags. It helps propel the event into top trends quickly. Digital advocacy helps with a wider reach and an effective way of monitoring progress. 

There were 1,603 tweets related to Mudassir Naaru at 9:53pm on Monday.

Naaru is said to have gone missing in August of 2018 while he was on vacation in Kaghan with his wife Sadaf Chughtai and their then six-month-old son Sachal. Sadaf was found dead at her Lahore home in May 2021 after campaigning for her husband for three and a half years. 

There has been no progress in the case so far.

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