The mission of Chitral Today (chitraltoday.net) is to provide its readers a healthy, objective, decent, professional, impartial, unbiased, dynamic and vibrant platform to create awareness of their basic rights, culture, history, traditions values, and keep them abreast of all local, national and international issues/events. Chitral Today also provides its readers a platform to debate, discuss issues, share comments, views and suggestions. The purpose of this is to ensure free flow of information and exchange of ideas by removing all barriers which have been too many in the context of Chitral. This initiative will also help the Khow people of Chitral in preserving their centuries-old culture, values, traditions and languages and promoting them at the national and international levels.
Those working with Chitral Today are professional working as well as citizen journalists. Since the launching of the online newspaper in April 2007, we have discussed some of the burning issues of Chitral that remained out of discussion like a taboo in the past. We are committed to achieving excellence in professional, objective and unbiased reporting as a true spokesman for the voiceless and downtrodden sections of society.
Most of our contributors are educated youth who as citizen journalists want to bring a change in the life of the people of the backward valley. Chitrali intellectuals, teachers, women and other highly educated people from almost all walks of life have also been contributing to our efforts through their writings and views about different issues. Since its inception, Chitral Today has also undergone major structural changes, including one when it was launched in the current format as chitraltoday.net on March 21, 2012. However, its basic motive of impartial and objective reporting remains unchanged.
Chitral is inhabited by around half a million people who speak a separate language called Khowar. Unlike other districts in the KP province of Pakistan, education in Chitral is fast spreading. Today, in most of the sub-valleys of Chitral literacy rate among people, including women, aged below 40 is almost 100 per cent. The fast spread of education has, however, not seen the development of the sources of mass communication such as newspapers at the local level. As a result, people of Chitral have to rely on state-owned radio and TV channels being aired from Pakistani cities and even abroad for entertainment and information. Because of these media of mass communication, the Chitralis are fast becoming alienated to their own culture, traditions and languages.
The main language spoken by the people of Chitral is Khowar and there are about 12 other small languages in different pockets of the valley. The people of Chitral are a separate cultural group and their language, Khowar, is one of the Indo-Dardic languages of Asia. As the national media cannot cover each and every event in Chitral, online newspapers have tried to fill the vacuum. However, they have not been so active due to different reasons, including lack of telecommunication facilities inside Chitral.
Chitral Today has succeeded to a large extent in covering events, issues, human rights abuses and socio-economic and political conflicts in Chitral in a professional and inclusive manner. Chitral Today was also the first news website which engaged its readers through a healthy but fearless and unbiased debate on many issues like ethnic polarization, sectarianism, suicides among women and lack of basic facilities in Chitral.
Zar Alam Khan (Editor)
Follow us on twitter @ChitralToday
Address: Village & PO Dizg, Tehsil Mastuj, Chitral, Pakistan.