Paasban is one of eight series of comics created by CFx Comics. Paasban or ‘The Guardian’, follows the life of Asim, a young man living in an unstable city, who becomes involved with a suspicious and potentially dangerous group. As Asim and his friends come to realise the truth about the group and their goal of enacting violence, they must race to save each other and the city itself. The comic takes on extremist narratives by revealing the realities and consequences of being involved with a terrorist group. It also helps to foster national pride and social cohesion by including the national Counter Terrorism Squad, shedding light on their heroic actions that help keep the public safe.
Through Paasban and its other titles, CFx Comics works to foster gender empowerment, civic education and democratic values to counter the narratives of violent extremists. Paasban and the other CFx Comics are available in English and Urdu through the CFx app, which can be downloaded on the Google Play Store and will soon be available on the Apple App Store.
- Message: Paasban succeeds in bringing depth and nuance to difficult topics like radicalisation and recruitment by addressing them through well-formed narratives and relatable characters. Delivering a message through a narrative can be difficult; it takes time, resources and ultimately requires greater commitment from the audience than more immediate content. However, when done well, narratives create more space for an audience to explore critical issues and internalise the message. The audience is able to examine the issue from multiple perspectives by seeing how different characters are affected, identify parallels with their own lives and understand consequences by seeing the relationship between cause and effect in practice.
- Content: A notable example of “edutainment” (educational entertainment), Paasban is message-driven, educational content that is presented through a medium that is appealing to young audiences. For a campaign, the vehicle for delivering a message can at times matter as much as the message itself. By adopting a format that is traditionally entertaining and producing high quality and visually appealing outputs, campaigns can reach wider audiences and engage with those who may not be initially interested in the topic.
- Platform: Paasban is available for free through CFx Comic app. A dedicated mobile app makes the comics easily accessible for a large audience and capitalises on mobile phone use amongst young people. CFx also uses a dedicated website and social media to promote all of its content, including Paasban online.