Archives for January 2022

January 21, 2022 - Comments Off on December 2021 Newsletter | 16 days of Activism Campaign with Ministry of Human Rights, 2021

December 2021 Newsletter | 16 days of Activism Campaign with Ministry of Human Rights, 2021

Policy Initiatives

16 days of Activism Campaign with Ministry of Human Rights, 2021

For 16-days of Activism against Gender-based violence. The theme for 2021 was “Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now!” DRF was honoured to collaborate with esteemed government body, Ministry of Human Rights to launch a joint campaign tackling the subject of gender-based violence, and the intersection between violence in online and offline spaces.

DRF designed and spearheaded the campaign with posts almost everyday, touching on a variety of important issues related to 16-days. From November 25th, 2021 to December 10th, 2021, DRF and MoHR posted a series of posts which were informational, focused on raising awareness and finding solutions to the pervasive issues of harassment and cyber harassment which women deal with on a daily basis. This 16-day period was concluded on International Human Rights Day.

DRF was thrilled to be partnering with the prestigious Ministry, currently lead by Shireen Mazari, to come up with a campaign that had significant reach and impact during this period.

#16daysofactivism #Endviolenceagainstwomennow

Cyber-Harassment Helpline Turns 5!

On December 5th, 2021 the Cyber-Harassment Helpline celebrated 5 years of providing services to survivors of cyber harassment, domestic abuse and overall violence. Over the last 5 years, the Helpline has catered to 11,300 complaints by providing professional guidance, mental health assistance and legal advice.

We are proud of the efforts of our Helpline team, and hope to continue the work we are doing to deal with the rampant cyber-harassment that exists in this country, and beyond its borders, too.

Hamara Internet Second Issue Highlights the work of Women Journalists

DRF’s Hamara Internet initiative, which aims to create a space online where women can reclaim the internet through sharing blogs, vlogs and articles based around their life experiences, released its second issue. This issue focused on the trials, tribulations and experiences faced by women journalists in Pakistan as they navigate through the hate and abuse they receive online by virtue of pursuing their careers in the media.

Head over to the link to check out the revamped Hamara Internet website:

Human Rights Day Shed Light on Journalists and Amendments to Journalist Protection Bill

DRF concluded its 16-days of activism campaign by speaking to women journalists about the struggles they are confronted with as a result of pursuing journalism in Pakistan. This was a fitting end to the campaign and discussed the human rights violations present in the country with regard to journalism, and the progress and steps taken by the Ministry of Human Rights to provide increased protections to journalists.

Journalists we spoke with also talked about the significance of campaigns like #16Days in raising awareness about violence against women.

DRF calls on EU to Impose Sanctions on NSO Group over Pegasus Surveillance Tech

DRF was among the 86 organisations that have called on the EU to impose sanctions on the NSO group that distributes Israeli company Pegasus' surveillance tech.

Pegasus is spyware developed by the Israeli cyberarms firm NSO Group that can be unknowingly installed on mobile phones operating on iOS and Android. The 2021 Pegasus software was exposed for its true purpose in the later half of 2021and its effects continued to spill over till the end of 2021, with more Rights organizations urging for calls to action.

Read the article by the Guardian here:

DRF sets up Online Portal with IWF to report Images of Child Sexual Abuse Online

DRF has partnered with IWF to create a portal for the purpose of reporting child sexual abuse online. Child sexual abuse online through the uploading of images/videos of children is a crime and a human rights violation.

DRF has partnered with IWF to create a portal for the purpose of reporting child sexual abuse online.

Report here on our website:


Nighat Dad lobbies for “Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Bill” Amendments

Digital Rights Activist and Executive Director at DRF@nighatdad briefed the Senate Standing Committee on the relevant Human rights regarding the “Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Bill, 2021”.

Training Sessions

DRF and Ministry of Human Rights Collaborate through Training

As part of the 16-days of activism campaign with MoHR, DRF’S Cyber Harassment Helpline team conducted a training session on 8th December, 2021  in Islamabad. Helpline Officers from MoHR’s Toll-free Helpline were told how DRF differentiates between cyber harassment and other forms of harassment. PECA and its use and implementation was also discussed along with a fruitful discussion around possible collaborations in the future.

Both teams shared their experiences and knowledge gained through providing services to victims of violence, whether online or offline.

Virtual Gender Sensitization Training with Journalists

DRF conducted a gender sensitization training with journalists online from across Pakistan during the 16-days of activism campaign. The session focused on how to report on gender based violence and the role and responsibility of the media while reporting such cases. The session took place on 8th December, 2021.

DRF holds Mentorship session with Saher Ghazi on Digital Media

Digital Rights Foundation conducted a mentorship session with digital media strategist and trainer Saher Ghazi on Pitching stories for Digital media. The session was attended by DRF’s Network of Women Journalists on 29th December, 2021.

Panels,Webinars and Press

Panel “Community-centric approaches to ending violence against women”

To scale up the debate around activism to end gender-based violence during 16-days of activism, UNDP in Pakistan's PunjabSDGsUnit and HomeNetPakistan jointly hosted a panel discussion on  ending #VAW and rehabilitation of victims into society, to #LeaveNoOneBehind.

Nighat Dad was invited as a speaker to discuss the issue at the panel.

Stay with us for updates!

Nighat Dad speaks at Open Government Partnership, Korea 2021.

On Dec 17th, 2021 Nighat Dad spoke at the Inclusive Digital Innovation Plenary

and highlighted the importance of understanding that safety on online spaces is not experienced uniformly across varying contexts, cultures and circumstances.

Nighat said, "For instance, women journalists are more likely to experience online violence and abuse than their male counterparts."

Nighat Dad attends UN’s Internet Governance Forum Poland, 2021

Nighat Dad spoke at the main session of #IGF2021 about regulations that are being badly framed or narrowly cover issues, this do more harm than good & we can’t come up with universal standards without addressing the imbalance of North-South regulatory approaches over content. She linked the Oversight Board of Facebook that Nighat is a part of.

Nighat Dad speaks at Panel “The Chilling Effect: Hate, Misogyny and the Digital Information Disorder”

Nighat spoke at panel “The Chilling Effect: Hate, Misogyny and the Digital Information Disorder” on December 7, 2021. The panel was about the digital space which continues to extend the promise of extraordinary opportunities for expanding the voice and agency of women, girls and marginalized groups, it has fallen short of our ideals. The panel discussed the impact of the chilling effect on the political ambitions, engagement and empowerment of women and girls, causing many not to step forward, to withdraw or to self-censor. The discussion was a @CCRInitiative.

Nighat Dad’s Lifestory Illustrated Beautifully in Comic, “Digital Rights and Feminist Futures”

Nighat Dad was featured as the central character, through which the story and origin of Digital Rights as a feminist movement in Pakistan has taken root, and evolved into a revolution for young women, girls and gender minorities around the country. The comic traces the evolution of Pakistan’s feminist digital rights movement, spearheaded by our very own, Nighat Dad.

Covid-19 Updates: Cyber Harassment Helpline

To commemorate 5 years of loyal service to survivors of cyber harassment, DRF created a video outlining the work we have done in these 5 years, along with the number and varying cases we have dealt with over the past half decade. The month was dedicated to a campaign which highlighted the work different members of the Helpline do, along with general insight and information into how we keep our Cyber Harassment Helpline running smoothly.

Watch the video here:





January 11, 2022 - Comments Off on The Minds of the Women Behind “Digital Rights and Feminist Futures” : A Comic

The Minds of the Women Behind “Digital Rights and Feminist Futures” : A Comic

As 2021 drew to a close, established freelance journalist Zuha Siddiqui and talented Illustrator, Aziza launched a project they had been working on for what has now been over 2 years in the making.

The two have worked together tirelessly to release the original comic “Digital Rights and Feminist Futures”, which looks at the life story and struggles of Digital Rights Activist, Lawyer and CEO of Digital Rights Foundation, Nighat Dad.

The comic is a visual and imaginative treat, masterfully telling the story of the humble originals and challenging beginnings of Nighat’s family. Even though viewers and sceptics may believe they know the basics of Nighat’s life history; an ambitious young woman who set out to achieve more and dreamt the dream of a feminist movement rooted in the Digital space, the comic is sure to surprise its readers, whoever they may be.
The comic is imbued with personal anecdotes and instances that were monumental in shaping the trajectory of Nighat’s life, and it reads like a story with a well thought out plot. This is because Zuha spent hours speaking to Nighat via Zoom and learned in great detail about her life, her passion for Digital Rights, and the pain-staking journey that has been the inception of Digital Rights Foundation and the subsequent Cyber Harassment Helpline which has been the first of its kind in the region.

*Excerpts of illustrations from the Comic

When speaking to Zuha and Aziza about the comic after its initial release garnered a lot of positive attention and feedback, we learned that Zuha had a meticulous process that allowed for her research and subsequent writing of the comic to be well researched and authentic.

Zuha set out researching all about Digital Rights in Pakistan, the pioneers of feminist movements, and spoke to several resourceful contacts that provided her with useful information. She then got into contact with Nighat (even though for the purpose of her work, she would have preferred meeting her subject in person and immersing herself in Nighat’s world and surroundings).

Once the research was done, and the narrative of the story had been laid out in front of her, Zuha took Aziza on board: an exceptionally talented and creative illustrator who owed all of her success in beautifully illustrating such a crucial story to the creative process that her and Zuha embarked on together.

They created a story board, went through the story in depth, and started bringing it to life visually. Aziza’s imagination and drawing prowess coupled with Zuha’s passion for documenting and telling important stories eventually created the brilliant comic which came to be known as “Digital Rights and Feminist Futures”

When speaking to these talented women about why they chose this particular story to tell, and what motivated them to embark on this project, the answer was simple:

“We wanted to create an archive”

An archive of movements and of stories. Stories of women who are spearheading movements in Pakistan. Women who are increasing awareness about Digital Rights and all that the Digital space has to offer. And women who are doing it with the interest of creating space for other women and gender minorities and setting out a path that others can tread on. Not just in the digital sphere, but well beyond that as well.

As for the person in question, Nighat was blown away by the heartfelt and beautifully captured depiction of her story. Reading the comic which summarizes decades of hard work and struggles to work on a mission she believes in, left her speechless and extremely overwhelmed with appreciation for the efforts made by Zuha and Aziza.

The image above is an illustration of Nighat at a crucial moment in her journey to becoming who she is: holding her newborn son and becoming aware of the limitations and flaws of the legal system that is supposed to uphold our rights.

The comic is an honest, heartfelt, and inspiring true story that humanizes its subject and her difficult journey while becoming one of Pakistan’s household names.

Twitter handles for the creators: