Viewpoint is a non-profit venture organised on a voluntary basis. It is an activist alternative to the corporate-mainstream media. Viewpoint is an outlet for voices hushed up or ignored in the corporate media due to business interests or anti-working class ideology. Viewpoint's pages are safe havens for dissenting voices. Relaunched on 21st May 2010 as an e-zine, Viewpoint has a long history of struggle for democracy, human rights and justice in Pakistan. For almost 16 years (1975-92), it was an important institution in Pakistan's civil society and media world.
The late Mazhar Ali Khan launched Viewpoint in 1975. He was a member of the illustrious team, led by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, that launched a chain of papers under the auspices of Progressive Papers Limited (PPL). The PPL newspapers, including English-language daily The Pakistan Times, Urdu-language daily Imroz and weekly Lail-o-Nihar, became the most popular and largest circulating newspapers in the country. The late Mazhar Ali Khan was editor of The Pakistan Times. Under his editorship, it became a symbol of quality journalism and progressive ideology. Due to the popularity enjoyed by PPL newspapers, Pakistan's first military dictator 'nationalised' them and Mazhar Ali Khan resigned in protest. He never went back to the state-run PPL.
On Pakistan's Independence Day in 1975, Mazhar Ali Khan launched the weekly Viewpoint with the purpose of filling a void in the English-language press. The imposition of military dictatorship in July 1977 propelled Viewpoint to an unanticipated role. With major media houses either collaborating with the military dictatorship or practicising self-censorship, Viewpoint emerged as a major pro-democracy outlet. It proved remarkably successful in conveying rational opinions despite a stringent press censorship. Consequently, the unhappy Khaki authorities, at one point, consigned virtually the entire senior staff to Lahore's Central Jail. Viewpoint survived the military dictatorship but did not outlive its founder Mazhar Ali Khan, who died in 1993. A team of young journalists and activists has decided to revive Viewpoint, initially as an e-zine but with the ultimate goal of bringing out a print edition.
By re-launching Viewpoint, we aim to:
Build and strengthen progressive forces not merely in Pakistan but in the region, and particularly in countries neighboring Pakistan.
Attempt to provide an alternative outlet for information, news and opinions that otherwise are hushed up by mainstream media due to their corporate interests and ideological leanings.
Help facilitate grassroots activists and movements to share information, engage in healthy debates and connect with wider layers across Pakistan and the region.
Cater the need of an international audience that seeks a progressive, working-class angle on developments in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
Our editorial policy is unambiguous. We stand for democracy, human rights, social and economic justice, feminism, secularism, socialism and eco-friendly development. Let us also declare what we are opposed to: we never support militarism, fundamentalism or imperialism.