Adnan Aamir

"Now I know how to avoid basic mistakes."

"In February 2019 I saw a call for applications for a Reporters Without Borders programme on my Facebook feed. At first I wasn’t sure, but as soon as I read that it would focus on digital security I submitted my application. I wanted to improve my knowledge and skills to defend myself in a very hostile digital world.

A few months later I arrived in Berlin as one of the fellows selected for the programme. On the very first day I already sensed that four interesting months lay ahead, during which I would gather many new experiences – and I was absolutely right.

During my time in Berlin I attended a comprehensive training programme on digital security in the offices of the German section of Reporters Without Borders. I learned about a wide range of topics including data encryption, anonymisation and securing accounts. This means that I now know how to avoid basic mistakes that could put my digital security at risks. I was able to put my new knowledge into practice and refresh it when we held a workshop in which we taught a group of German students how to encode communications. That was a very exciting experience.

In addition to the training programme I wanted to immerse myself in Berlin’s cultural life. I tried to visit the main sites in Berlin with a connection to World War 2. I visited the remains of the Berlin Wall and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin. I was fascinated by the German government’s policy of not allowing the atrocities of the dark Nazi past be forgotten in order to ensure that future generations never take a positive view of those times.

I also visited other German cities including Potsdam, Magdeburg, Hamburg and Frankfurt. Each of these places has its own culture and therefore has something unique about it. I was very impressed by the infrastructure of these cities. I visited seven other countries in Europe, including Italy and Norway. Each of them was different. I really enjoyed this diversity.

I will always remember my stay in Germany, not just because of the training in digital security, but also because it enabled me to see some of Germany and Europe."

Adnan Aamir is a journalist and researcher from Quetta, Pakistan. He is currently taking part[AW1] [AR|RoG2]  in RSF Germany’s Berlin Scholarship Programme. He came to Berlin for four months with the programme to receive training in digital security. As a journalist Aamir reports on politics, the economy, development, conflicts and security, with a special focus on conflict in the Pakistani province of Balochistan and on the “One Belt, One Road” project financed by China in Pakistan, the aim of which is to build a new Silk Road connecting China with the rest of the world.

Aamir has written articles for the Financial Times, Nikkei Asian Review, South China Morning Post, Asia Times, Business Standard, The News and The Friday Times, as well as other publications. He is also the founder and publisher of Balochistan Voices, a community-based online newspaper which covers issues in Balochistan that are ignored by mainstream media. Since 2016 he has edited the news site, which has developed into an alternative platform to the established media landscape in Balochistan. Since 2017 he has also worked together with various magazines on issues related to strategy and security.

In 2016 Aamir won the “Agahi Award for Journalist of the Year” in the Business and Economy category. Two years later he won the "Reporting on Delimitation Award" and the "Agahi Award for Data Journalist of the year".

The province of Balochistan is subject to rigorous control by the Pakistani state, and civil rights are suppressed there. Working as a digital journalist in such an environment raises many issues in terms of digital security. It is not uncommon for personal data such as phone calls and locations to be recorded and tracked. Because of his work, Aamir has frequently been a target of anti-media attacks on social networks. His training in digital security aims not only to provide him with greater security as a journalist living in Pakistan, but also to enable him to work with less fear and anxiety. (Current as of: 10.07.2019)

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Video portrait

Our fellow Adnan Aamir introduces himself.
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