Survey Highlights Need for Use of RTI Laws By Pakistan Journalists

pak-rtiOver 97 percent of journalists in Pakistan who took a data journalism survey believe that official data is not easily available in Pakistan.

But at the same time, most of them, 75.6 percent, said they never used the Right to Information (RTI) laws to get official data!

The survey developed by Data Stories and Journalism Pakistan was available online from June 22, 2016 to August 31, 2016 and a total of 78 journalists took the survey from across Pakistan.

Of all these respondents 47 (60.3 percent) said official data availability was difficult while 29 (37.2 percent) termed it very difficult. But 59 (75.6 percent) respondents said they never used the RTI laws to get official data. Shouldn’t we as journalists exercise this right?



As many as 24 (30.8 percent) of the respondents said they didn’t use Microsoft Excel for basic data analysis while 16 (20.5 percent) recorded an affirmative response saying they wanted to explore more. Similarly only 15 (19.2 percent) of the journalists said they knew how to extract data from a website while only 8 (10.3 percent) of the journalists said they used free data visualization tools.

As per Google stats 68 (87.2 percent) responses were recorded from male journalists while only 10 (12.8 percent) female journalists responded. Maximum responses 25 (32.1) percent were recorded from journalists with 11 to 20 years in the profession and maximum participation was from print media folks—42 responses (53.8 percent). City-wise, maximum responses came from Lahore 41 (52.6 percent) followed by federal capital Islamabad 22 (28.2) percent, and Peshawar and Karachi 6 from each city (7.7 percent).

Of the total 78 respondents 74 (94.9 percent) said they were interested in data journalism workshop.


Khalid Khattak works for The News, Pakistan’s leading English daily, and runs a data journalism website Data Stories with an aim to promote data literacy and data journalism in Pakistan. He will be speaking onStorytelling with Data at the Asian Investigative Journalism Conference at 3:15 pm on Saturday, Sept. 24.

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