Archives for June 2019

June 21, 2019 - Comments Off on Journalists Safety, Welfare and Protection Bill: recommendations

Journalists Safety, Welfare and Protection Bill: recommendations

DRF held a number of consultations with its Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights (NWJDR) as well as other journalists to discuss the Journalists Safety, Welfare and Protection Bill and propose recommendations to the Ministry of Information. The recommendations are as follows:

  1. Impartiality and transparency
    1. If contributions to the safety fund can be made by any entity, there must be mechanisms in place to ensure that donors cannot assert their will as to where/how the funds are utilised.
    2. Some journalists believe that the funding sources ought to be regulated as it will be impossible for the council, prosecutor, fund etc to stay impartial if majority of the funding comes from a single source.
    3. Mechanisms must be in place to ensure that the council remains independent in fulfilling its duties.
    4. Mechanisms must be in place to ensure that the Special Prosecutor under the bill, who will make major decisions under the bill, including who to prosecute, is able to make these decisions without being swayed. This is especially important as some cases may be against state agencies.
  2. Scope and Definitions

    1. Although the bill is fairly inclusive, it should be more explicit in recognising freelance / independent journalists in order to ensure that key stakeholders, who are sometimes the most vulnerable, are not left out.
    2. Protections to apply to print, electronic and social media equally so that the right to freedom of expression is extended to all forms of media.
    3. Protection against criminal and civil action for defamation and reporting on issues of public importance.
  3. Enforcement

    1. The bill should include provisions that make it mandatory for media houses to maintain certain workplace standards including separate bathrooms for men and women, maternity leave, reporting mechanisms for harassment, regular training for journalists’ physical security
    2. The bill should directly penalise media houses that do not maintain these standards.
  4. Digital Safety

    1. Seeing as digital spaces have created large scale expansion of the mediums of expression used by journalists, the bill ought to include digital safety and security of journalists (as online violence can lead to physical violence).
    2. Journalists should not be barred from using VPNs.
    3. Reporting of online harassment cases should be streamlined through the National Response Center for Cyber Crime (NR3C), FIA taking up cases with urgency.
    4. Withdraw notification on regulating encryption-based communication.
    5. Guidelines and regulations for media houses to implement digital security and safety of their employees.
  5. Accessibility

    1. This Bill should be applied to the peripheral regions of Pakistan, such as Gilgit-Baltistan.

June 19, 2019 - Comments Off on 5 Tips to Keep in Mind Before Using Uber and Careem

5 Tips to Keep in Mind Before Using Uber and Careem


Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Careem has, undoubtedly, made it much more convenient to move around the city, especially for women. But it comes with its own risks.

Recently, in a facebook video, a case emerged where a driver robbed the rider of his phone in a careem and ran away. After investigation it was found that the person who was driving at that time was not a registered driver at careem. He used a blocked ID and got it reactivated somehow. This raises a lot of privacy issues in the way we use technology.

Over the past few months, law enforcement agencies have also seen an increased number of crime reports ranging from robbery to harassment from these transport services. It is imperative that one has to share personal data with the application and with drivers while calling a cab;including name, location, and phone number, the handling of real-time data. Due to this, concerns regarding privacy, have also been raised and fingers have been pointed.

Wondering how you can keep your safety intact without having to compromise on using these convenient services? Here are a few tips to make sure you are protected:

Maintain your anonymity:

Uber masks your number when you contact number when you connect with your driver but Careem offers both options. Always make sure that you call your driver anonymously than from your own number in careem as well.

Ride tracking

Always share the ride tracker with your family or someone you trust, especially when you’re travelling alone in the night. Moreover, turn your GPS on and track yourself on google maps to ensure that driver follows the right path towards your destination.

Double check the driver’s identity

Before you sit in the car, cross check the car’s registration number and the picture of the driver to make sure that it’s the same person careem and uber has registered.     

Always sit in the backseat

Sit in the back seat, especially if you’re riding alone. This helps ensure that you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic, and it gives you and your driver some personal space

Call 15 in case of emergency

If you feel like someone is trying to make you feel uncomfortable, trust your intuition and call 15. With the help of CCTV cameras and tracking your phone’s location, dolphins will reach you immediately.

June 9, 2019 - Comments Off on DRF at RightsCon 2019

DRF at RightsCon 2019


DRF is proud to be heading towards RightsCon Tunis this week with a number of interesting sessions lined up especially for you! RightsCon brings together experts around the world to connect, strategize and come up with solutions regarding the evolving threats and issues individuals face online and offline.

We’d be part of interesting debates around fake news, surveillance, data protection, gender and privacy. We’re excited to bring our perspective to various emerging topics across the world and this year we will be laying a special emphasis on mental health and the stressors involved with the work that we do and how we cope with them. DRF’s Executive Director Nighat Dad along with the Program Manager of the Cyber Harassment Helpline Jannat Fazal will be speaking at various panels on throughout the week.


Jannat Fazal from DRF will be hosting a session on the 14th of June, Thursday titled, Where There Is Burnout There Is No Innovation: Managing stressors for a better physical and mental health from 2:15 pm till 3:30 pm. If you need further details about our session click on the link below:

DRF’s Executive Director Nighat Dad will also be speaking in 10 other sessions throughout #RightsCon. Keep a lookout for our sessions and here’s where you can find us:

12th June - Wednesday

Working it out - journalism in the digital area: why we need an international pledge for Information and Democracy now more than ever
9:00am - 10:15am
Host Organization: Reporters Without Borders

Global State of Data Protection
10:30am - 11:45am
Host Organization: Access Now

Discussion on the scope of responsibility when it comes to AI
12.45 pm- 1.45pm
Host: Article one and Microsoft Team
Landmark: Philanthropy in the 21st Century (Main stage)
2:15pm - 3:30pm
Host Organization: The Omidyar Group Philanthropy


Multi Stakeholder Models of Content Moderation: A global perspective
5:15pm - 6:30pm
Host Organization: Global Digital Policy Incubator (GDPi) - Stanford University, ARTICLE 19


13th June - Thursday

Changing practices of internet manipulation
9:00am - 10:15am
Host Organisation: The Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) - Strathmore Law School

Warning! Access to the Internet Is Suspended for Security Reasons- A policy discussion on the effectiveness of internet shutdowns
2:15pm - 3:30pm
Host organization: Software freedom law center


Combating harassment of women journalists in extremism ridden online spaces
3:45pm - 5:00pm
Organiser: Committee to Protect Journalists


14th June- Friday

Online Dissidence in the Global South

9:00am - 10:15am
Organiser: Bolobhi


Moving Beyond the Problem: Pathways to meaningful consent online
10:30 - 11:45
Organiser: Human Rights Big Data and Technology Project - University of Essex

June 3, 2019 - Comments Off on May 2019: DRF celebrated World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May 2019

May 2019: DRF celebrated World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May 2019


DRF organized a press conference to mark World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May 2019

DRF organised a press conference with women journalists from its network, including Sabahat Zakariya, Mehmal Sarfraz, Umaima Ahmed and our Executive Director, Nighat Dad. The participants discussed the present state of press freedom and its impact on democracy.

Tweet chat to commemorate World Press Freedom Day


On 2nd May, members of DRF’s Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights participated in a tweet chat to discuss gender dimensions of free expression on digital platforms and how they cope with the trolling and harassment.

“Online Child Sexual Abuse in Pakistan: Solutions and Call to Action”, Islamabad

DRF in collaboration with Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) hosted a roundtable titled, ‘Online Child Sexual Abuse in Pakistan: Solutions and Call to Action’ on 3rd May with various stakeholders. The roundtable focused on the laws governing online child sexual abuse and pornography as well as the online trends that are apparent in Pakistan. DRF shared its experiences of dealing with cases of minors facing online abuse and harassment. Valentina Picco, the International Development Manager at IWF spoke extensively about the mechanisms available at the national and international level for tackling online child abuse and the work that IWF is doing in the field. The event also marked the soft launch of IWF’s online child sexual abuse portal in Pakistan to report and remove online content pertaining to child sexual abuse.

DRF at Global Safety Summit 2019


Facebook hosted the third annual Global Safety and Well-Being Summit, where over 100 organizations from 40 countries took part. A wide range of issues including suicide prevention, raising children in the digital era and protecting the most vulnerable people online were discussed in the Summit. Nighat Dad was part of the panel on combating harassment of women where she discussed coping mechanisms and digital tools to keep themselves safe in the online spaces.

Consultation Meeting on "Gender and Disability Audit of Election Act 2017"

DRF attended the ‘Gender and Disability Audit of Election Act 2017’ in Islamabad on the 14th May to discuss the general elections 2018 and the lapses identified by the Long term Observers (LTO) in the election process. A detailed discussion took place with Coalition of Inclusive Pakistan (CIP) partners around gender and disability and recommendations were put forward to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on how to make the elections ahead more inclusive and fair for all.

DRF at Human Rights, Big Data and Technology (HRBDT) meeting in Colchester

The Human Rights, Big Data and Technology project, which is housed at the University of Essex in Colchester, called an experts’ meeting to discuss several pressing questions relating to consent. DRF was a part of the equation and introduced the Global South perspective which diversified the conversation and brought in the need to recognize the vastly differing standpoints from which the issues at hand needed to be analyzed and ways forward, worked on.

Apart from considering alternatives to the standard definition of consent and whether it needed changing, the various segments of the meeting also looked into the human rights impact on the situation and whether looking at it from this humane perspective would affect the way the consent model operated.

DRF was represented by Zainab Durrani who believes it was a great opportunity to contribute to a global debate and to gain insight into the academic dialogue surrounding the digital data regime and its significance.

Pakistan Forum for Democratic Policing (PFDP) - Punjab chapter

DRF attended the second quarterly meeting of the PFDP - Punjab chapter followed by an interactive capacity building Session on ‘Governance and Networking’ organized by Rozan on May 2 in Lahore.

DRF at Stockholm Internet Festival 2019

DRF was part of the Stockholm Internet Forum (SIF) 2019 hosted by Sida from May 15 to May 17, 2019. SIF is a platform for advancing a free, open, and secure internet as a driver of development. DRF was part of a panel discussion on 2019 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index where we discussed corporate responsibility and accountability for tech companies both in the Global North and the South.

IMS Digital Security Training in Lahore

The last of the digital security trainings under umbrella of DRF’s collaborative project with the International Media Support (IMS) titled ‘Fostering Open Spaces in Pakistan’ took place of Friday, the 3rd of May, 2019 in Lahore. The participants, as was the case for the entire effort, were women hailing from the information practice industry, including journalists, civil activists and human rights defenders who were interested in increasing their knowledge regarding cybersecurity and how to keep their gadgets in good shape.

Consultative Session on Implementation Framework of Punjab Women Development Policy, 2018

DRF participated in a consultative session on May 30, in Hospitality Inn hotel organized by UN Women in collaboration with WDD Punjab, to develop an implementation framework for Punjab Women Development Policy, 2018.

Members of Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights continued to pen blogs

Members of DRF's Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights continued to share articles and blogs on digital rights issues which can be found on the Hamara Internet website here. The Network advocates for women and other minority groups to have safe access to online platforms, where they can exercise their constitutional right of free speech without facing constant threats. The Network members pen articles to document these threats, bring forward issues in the implementation of legislation to prevent and protect women journalists from gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment both online and offline and also advocate their access to effective remedies.