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February 19, 2024 - Comments Off on NWJDR condemns the use of technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV) and Generative AI to attack and silence women journalists

NWJDR condemns the use of technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV) and Generative AI to attack and silence women journalists

PAKISTAN: The Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights (NWDJR) is angered and deeply concerned about the ongoing attacks against prominent women journalist Meher Bokhari and others in online spaces by PML(N) party supporters. On examining multiple platforms, NWJDR has found non-consensual use of images (NCUI), non-consensual use of intimate images (NCII) and doctored images created through generative artificial intelligence (AI) and other AI tools of Meher Bokhari being shared online with sexist, misogynistic and sexualized gendered attacks. 

 

It is not the first time women journalists have been targeted by political party supporters online. There has been pervasive and persistent online harassment, sexualized and otherwise gendered disinformation faced by women journalists in Pakistan, with many being threatened with physical assault and offline violence. We’ve witnessed multiple incidents of female journalists' private information being leaked online with what we can say are well-planned and directed efforts to silence them & resulted in stalking and offline harassment. In Meher’s case, the attempt to malign, scare and threaten her with morphed images of her on objectionable content through generative AI tools points towards a remarkably alarming trend of a new form of technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV) against journalists. 

 

Before the elections, NWJDR released the 6-point agenda on media freedom and journalist safety for political parties' electoral manifestos, which was signed by more than 100 journalists and civil society members on journalist safety. It has been quite alarming and disappointing that despite the efforts to raise our concerns with political parties around journalist safety, we witnessed, in a matter of days, attacks on journalists like Meher Bokhari, Maria Memon, Hamid Mir, Saadia Mazhar and Benazir Shah, to name a few along with family members of journalists for simply reporting during Pakistan’s general elections 2024. 

 

The action angers NWJDR, and we’d like to reiterate that online violence and abuse constitute as an offense and complaint-based action should be taken by relevant authorities. 

 

Signed by: 

    1. Absa Komal - Dawn TV
    2. Hafsa Javed Khawja - The reporters
    3. Mehr F Husain - Editor- The Friday Times/ Publisher, ZUKA Books 
    4. Amber Rahim Shamsi - Director, Centre for Excellence in Journalism 
    5. Saadia Mazhar- Freelance Investigative journalist
    6. Tehreem Azeem - Freelance Journalist and Researcher
    7. Laiba Zainab- The Current 
    8. Rabbiya.A. - Turkman Multimedia Journalist & Documentary Maker
    9. Shehzad Yousafzai
    10. Nighat Dad - Executive Director, Digital Rights Foundation 
    11. Amer Malik - Senior Journalist, The News International 
    12. Kaif Afridi - News Producer, Tribal News Network
    13. Feroza Fayyaz - Web-Editor, Samaa TV
    14. Muhammad Ammad - Copy Editor 
    15. Nasreen Jabeen - AbbTakk News 
    16. Seerat Khan - Programs Lead/Co-editor Digital 50.50 , Digital Rights Foundation
    17. Afra Fatima - Digital journalist 
    18. Fauzia Kalsoom Rana- Producer Power show with Asma Chaudhary, Founder and Convenor Women journalists Association of Pakistan WJAP 
    19. Muhammad Bilal Baseer Abbasi - Multimedia Journalist, Deutsche Welle (DW) News Asia / Urdu Service
    20. Mahwish Fakhar - Producer Dawn TV 
  • Sadia Rafique Radio Broadcaster - FM 101
    1. Sarah B. Haider - Freelance Journalist
    2. Ramsha Jahangir - Journalist 
    3. Zoya Anwer - Independent Journalist 
    4. Afifa Nasar Ullah - Multimedia journalist/foreign correspondent at Deutsche Welle.
  • Sheema Siddiqui- Geo TV Karachi 
  • Mudassir Zeb - Crimes Reporter Daily Aksriyat Peshawar.
  • Nasreen Jabeen - Daily Jang Peshawar
  1. Aftab Mohammad - Dialogue Pakistan 
  2. Anees Takar - Frontier Post, Radio Aman Network 
  3. Unbreen Fatima- Deutsche Welle
  4. Khalida Niaz- Tribal News Network 
  5. Naheed Jahangir- Assistant Media Manager 
  6. Fozia Ghani- Freelance Journalist
  7. Ayesha Saghir- Express News
  8. Aamir Akhtar - Freelance Investigate Journalist  Swabi, GTV News/Such News
  9. Rani Wahidi - Correspondent, Deutsche Welle (DW) Urdu  
  10. Fahmidah Yousfi- Rava Documentary
  11. Kamran Ali- Reporter- Aaj News 
  12. Jamaima Afridi- Freelance Journalist
  13. Fatima Razzaq- Lok Sujag 
  14. Umaima Ahmed- Global Voices
  15. Najia Asher President GNMI
  16. Sanam Junejo - Associated Press of Pakistan
  17. Asma Kundi- Wenews.pk
  18. Maryam Nawaz- Geo News
  19. Lubna Jarrar - Freelance Journalist
  20. Sumaira Ashraf-  Video journalist DW
  21. Laiba hussan - Aaj news
  22. Uroosa Jadoon- Geo News 
  23. Tanzeela Mazhar GTV 
  24. Ayesha Rehman - Geo News 
  25. Najia Mir - Anchor/Producer KTN News
  26. Afia Salam- Freelance Journalist
  27. Farieha Aziz - Co-founder, Bolo Bhi
  28. Mehmal Sarfraz-  Journalist
  29. Benazir Shah-  Editor, Geo Fact Check
  30. Mahjabeen Abid- PTV National Multan 
  31. Zainab Durrani - Senior Program Manager, Digital Rights Foundation 
  32. Nadia Malik - Senior Executive Producer Geo News
  33. Annam Lodhi - Freelance Journalist 
  34. Fatima Sheikh - Freelance Journalist/ Communications Executive at CEJ-IBA
  35. Maryam Saeed - Editor Digital 50.50
  36. Rabia Mushtaq - Senior Sub-editor, Geo.tv
  37. Nadia Naqi, Dawn News

February 19, 2024 - Comments Off on Demanding Accountability, Transparency, and Support for Domestic Violence survivors/victims in the Media Industry

Demanding Accountability, Transparency, and Support for Domestic Violence survivors/victims in the Media Industry

 

PAKISTAN: The Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights (NWDJR) is not only deeply concerned but fiercely angered at yet another instance of brutal domestic violence by the male members of the journalist community. This time, the alleged perpetrator is an influential media person, an ARY anchor named Ashfaque Ishaq Satti. 

 

Enough is enough; we are appalled at the criminal justice systems and institutions permeated with patriarchy that condone violence against women, dismissing it as a mere “personal or private dispute.” Domestic violence is criminalised in Pakistan under the Domestic Violence (Protection and Prevention) Act 2020. Additionally, the dignity of an individual is a fundamental right protected in the Constitution of Pakistan, and dismissing it as “a personal” matter is incongruous when the law specifically safeguards it as a human right. Domestic violence is the result of deep-rooted political structures and power dynamics that are intrinsically oppressive and patriarchal. We strongly believe that the personal is political, and for women, the challenges they face in their personal lives--the double shift due to inequitable distribution of care and domestic work, violence within the home, harassment in work and public places, online abuse directed at them--impacts and often puts their lives in danger. 

 

We have not forgotten the murder of Shaheena Shaheen at the hands of her husband, another perpetrator from the media fraternity. NWJDR has also received individual testimonies from its members of women journalists who are facing severe domestic abuse and violence from their partners who are also part of the media industry, and holding influential positions. Through the countless testimonies we have received, we foresee a new and dangerous trend of male journalists perpetrating violence in their relationships, highlighting a bleak picture that needs urgent action. 

 

As reported by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in 2020, over 90% of Pakistani women have faced domestic violence in their lifetime. According to a media report in Express Tribune in 2022, “data released under the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013, cases of domestic violence saw an increase in the last five years. Same is the situation in courts; an estimated forty percent of cases in courts are family cases, and the remaining sixty percent involve crimes like murder, kidnapping and theft. For example, if a court has 150 total cases for hearing, at least eighty-five cases are family cases, mainly of violence”. How many more women will have to become victims of domestic abuse for it to be taken seriously? 

 

Domestic violence is often an underreported crime due to the stigma surrounding it and because of the lack of accessibility to complaint mechanisms for victims. Women are not believed; even when they provide evidence of abuse there is a hue and cry on how there are “two sides” to the story. How men use influence in cases of domestic violence to evade accountability and impunity is not uncommon. Law enforcement agencies, including the police, also force the survivors of abuse to reach a settlement outside the court, again reiterating how a “private” matter should remain within the confines of the house and associating ‘family honor’ with a woman’s dignity and identity. 

 

The concerns that women face should be taken seriously and acted upon, and in cases where male journalists are involved, media outlets as well as the government must respond immediately to ensure that influence is not exercised to evade legal action.  State inaction sends a message to women that they are on their own and in the long term discourages them from speaking up against abuse and filing a complaint. The challenges that women face before they actually speak up are already humongous; from living in close proximity with the perpetrators who are constantly surveilling their physical movement and devices to going back to the same house after registering a complaint can cost women their lives.  

 

Additionally NWJDR acknowledges and appreciates the step taken by ARY Management to immediately suspend Ashfaq Satti till the law takes its course and decides the matter. It is a promising step on how our society should have zero tolerance for violence against women. However, a lot more needs to be done before to prevent the menace of domestic violence in our country.

 

We, the undersigned, demand the following:

 

  1. We call upon media outlets to thoroughly investigate allegations against their personnel and take prompt and decisive action against individuals found guilty of domestic violence. Media organizations must not shield perpetrators and should instead prioritize the safety and well-being of women who are subjected to human rights abuses.
  2. We urge law enforcement agencies, especially the police, to handle cases of domestic violence with the seriousness they deserve. Survivor complaints should be thoroughly and impartially investigated, and survivors should not be coerced into settling outside the court. The police should actively pursue legal action against perpetrators, ensuring that the law is applied without influence or bias.
  3. We call upon the National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR) to proactively intervene in cases of domestic violence, particularly those involving perpetrators from the media industry. This includes conducting independent investigations into reported incidents, ensuring the protection of survivors, and holding perpetrators accountable under the law.
  4. We urge press clubs and journalist unions to actively condemn such grave incidents and avoid using their influence to silence or pressure women survivors of domestic violence to save male members of the media fraternity. These organizations must prioritize the safety and well-being of their members over protecting individuals accused of such heinous acts.
  5. Domestic abuse leaves a lasting impact on mental health and well being of the victim. The government must provide free psychological assistance to the victims.
  6. Healthcare in Pakistan is not easy and free to obtain especially when a case has been registered with the police. The government must ensure setting up sections in hospitals where victims are provided with free medical treatment.

 

Signatures:

  Name Organization Location
1 Bushra Iqbal Multimedia Journalist Islamabad
2 Laiba Zainab The Current Lahore
3 Madiha Abid Ali Anchor Person  PTV News Islamabad
4 Khalida Niaz sub editor TNN Peshawar
5 Lubna Jerar Naqvi Freelance Journalist Karachi
6 Zeenat Bibi Freelance  Journalist Peshawar
7 Asma Sherazi Senior Anchor, journalist Islamabad
8 Zainab Durrani Senior Program Manager DRF  
9 Xari Jalil Editor/Co-founder, Voicepk Lahore
10 Afshan Mansab Native media Lahore
11 Saddia Mazhar DW Urdu  
12 Umaima Ahmed Global Voices Lahore
13 Mahwish Fakhar Dawn TV Islamabad
14 Saeeda Salarzai Freelance  
15 Unbreen Fatima Freelance Journalist Karachi
16 Fozia Ghani Freelance Lahore
17 Ayesha Saghir Express News Lahore
18 Fahmidah Yousfi Rava Documentary Karachi
19 Salma jehangir TNN Peshawar
20 Sheeama Siddiqui Geo Karachi
21 Pernia Khan Freelance Lahore
22 Mahjabeen abid Pakistan Television Multan
23 Tanzeela Mazhar GTV Islamabad
24 Tayyaba Nisar Khan PTV World Islamabad
25 Ayesha Khalid Comms Manager, Media Matters for Democracy  
26 Rabia Mushtaq Geo.tv Karachi
27 Afia Salam  Environmental journalist Karachi
28 Fatima Razzaq, Journalist, CEO Lok Sujag  
29 Samina Chaudhary APP Islamabad
30 Tehreem Azeem Freelance Lahore
31 Bilal Azmat SM Executive   Dawn    Islamabad
32 Bushra Pasha DW Karachi
33 Moazzam Bhatti Freelance journalist Islamabad
34 Zoya Anwer, Freelance Journalist  
35 Miranda Husain, Editor and Journalist Lahore
36 Fauzia Kalsoom Rana Founder and Convenor Women journalists Association of Pakistan WJAP Islamabad
37 Islam Gul Afridi Correspondent,Special broadcasting Services Peshawar
38 Dr. Rabia Noor ARY News Lahore
39 Sanam junejo APP Islamabad
40 Nabila Feroz Bhatti Freelance Journalist Lahore
41 Asma Kundi, wenews.pk  
42 Maryam Nawaz Geo news Islamabad
43 Xari Jalil Voice.pk Lahore
44 Sabahat Khan Freelance Islamabad
45 Sarah B. Haider Freelance journalist Islamabad
46 Mahnoor shakeel Freelance journalist Mardan
47 Ambreen Sikander GTV News Karachi
48 ShaziaMehboob ThePenPk.com/Express Tribune Islamabad
49 Aneela Ashraf Freelance Journalist & Founder Journalists Save Movement Multan
50 Sumeira Ashraf Head of assignment and planning at 24 news HD Islamabad
51 Shawaiz Tahir Samaa Tv Islamabad
52 Beena Sarwar Founder Editor, Sapan News Network Boston
53 Ali Jabir Malik Reporter, APP                                         Islamabad 
54 Haya Fatima Iqbal Co Founder, Documentary Association of Pakistan  
55 Syeda Mehr Mustafa Freelancer  
56 Zeenat Shehzadi Investigative Journalist  
57 Zunaira Rafi We News Urdu  
58 Sophia Siddiqui Chief Editor Glory Magazine Islamabad
59 Maryam Saeed Editor Digital 50.50 Digital Rights Foundation  
60 Mehr F Husain Editor, The Friday Times/ Publisher, ZUKA Lahore/Dubai
61 Kainat Malik Chief Editor Jamal e jahan Rajanpur
62 Wajeeha aslam Samaa news manager special project Lahore
63 Rabia Anum Tv Host  
64 Marian Sharaf Joseph Freelance Journalist Lahore
65 Ismat Jabeen DW Correspondent Islamabad
66 Shinza nawaz PTV Islamabad
67 Ali Tanoli Geo News Islamabad
68 Nadir Guramani Anchor, journalist, Dawn news Islamabad
69 Qurrat ul Ain Shirazi Roving CorrespondentThe Independent Urdu Islamabad
70 Fatima Ali Correspondent Independent Urdu Lahore
71 Fauzia Yazdani    
72 Beenish Javed Freelance journalist Islamabad /Berlin
73 Jamaima Afridi Freelance Journalist  
74 Asad Ali Toor freelance journalist  
75 Arifa Noor Dawn tv Islamabad
76 Sabah Bano Malik Freelance journalist, Radio Host CityFM89 Karachi
77 Haroon Rasheed Indy Urdu  
78 Mehmal Sarfraz Journalist Lahore
79 Naheed jehangir Assistant media manager lady Reading Hospital Peshawar
80 Maryam Zia Anchor, PTV World  
81 Muhammad Faheem Mashriq Peshawar
82 Anam Baloch Comms Manager, Digital Rights Foundation Lahore
83 Sualeha Qureshi Director, Soch Media Karachi

 

February 13, 2024 - Comments Off on January 2024 Newsletter: Digital Rights Foundation launched its Election Desk

January 2024 Newsletter: Digital Rights Foundation launched its Election Desk

Digital Rights Foundation launched its Election Desk. You can follow the initiative on social media through #DRFElectionDesk. And on our website - https://election2024.digitalrightsfoundation.pk/

Policy Initiatives: 

DRF Election Desk

6 Point Agenda on Digital Rights Protections For Political Parties’ Electoral Manifestos

DRF's Election Desk has identified six key digital rights issues, and we urge political parties to include them in their manifestos due to the inextricable connection between online and offline spaces. 

Read the entire agenda here: https://t.co/vbpw5ednQo

 

6-Point Agenda on Media Freedom And Journalist Safety For Political Parties’ Electoral Manifestos

More than 100 journalists and members of civil society signed the Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights'  6-Point Agenda on Media Freedom And Journalist Safety For Political Parties’ Electoral Manifestos.

 

Read the entire agenda here: https://election2024.digitalrightsfoundation.pk/2024/01/23/pakistan-6-point-agenda-on-media-freedom-and-journalist-safety-for-political-parties-electoral-manifestos/

 

Spotting Generative Content

  1. Unnecessary details: Extra fingers and warped backdrops.
  2. Repetitive imagery: Keep an eye on skin, clothing, or items.
  3. Disruptive lighting: Physics-defying highlights and shadows!
  4. Background error: Look for smooth or distorted backdrops!
  5. Unusual objects: Search for colors spilling over lines or floating hair!
  6. Reflections and Transparency: AI may alter reality in reflective materials!
  7. Facial features and movements: Distorted features? AI could be at play!
  8. Text errors: Typos, incorrect fonts, or formatting issues? Artificial intelligence could be the culprit!
  9. Lack of Analysis: Short sentences, repeated words, and meaningless content - classic AI giveaways!

 

WhatsApp Disinformation Tipline

If you come across misleading content online, please contact Mithu via our WhatsApp Disinformation Tip Line at +9203013249539.

 

Statement by Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights (NWJDR) - Demanding Accountability, Transparency, and Support for Domestic Violence survivors/victims in the Media Industry

83 journalists, including male journalists, signed Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights’ statement raising their voices against domestic violence, condemning the alleged case of domestic violence committed by a TV anchor, and demanding the state take measures to address this menace. 

 

Read the full statement here: https://www.instagram.com/p/C2w_qYOi971/?igsh=MXhwYjZ4OHRmcnF0bQ==

 

Hamara Internet Mahfooz Internet - Digital Citizenship Program

DRF’s 'Hamara Internet Mehfooz Internet' project brought a wave of digital literacy & safety to Lahore's public schools by the end of 2023.

 

Training 1417 students, 138 teachers, and 31 digital rights youth ambassadors, this initiative is about building a safer digital world for our youth.

 

https://x.com/DigitalRightsPK/status/1744688973547733035?s=20

 

Data Privacy Day 2024

Digital Rights Foundation conducted research on 'Data Privacy in Pakistan's Healthcare Sector'. And on this #DataPrivacyDay2024, it is critical to highlight the research available to us to work on data privacy in Pakistan and it is time to #TakeControlofYourData.

 

Cyber Harassment Helpline Awareness

Press Coverage: 

Nighat speaking to Wilton Park, Executive Agency of Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office UK

Speaking at Wilton Park’s  event on human rights and new & emerging technology,  DRF’s Executive Director, Nighat Dad reflected on the need to safeguard human rights in tech development & design.

 

Nighat Dad on Bol News Network

Executive Director of DRF, Nighat Dad, spoke with Bol News about the challenges of combating disinformation in the era of AI and Generative AI. She says we're not prepared to deal with disinformation in this manner.

https://x.com/DigitalRightsPK/status/1749711280158683569?s=20

 

The deepfake elections are here | Context

DRF’s Executive Director, Nighat Dad, wrote an opinion piece for  Context: "The harsh truth is that deep fakes and synthetic media can indeed influence the mindset of voters, and eventually affect the results of elections." 

https://www.context.news/ai/opinion/the-deepfake-elections-are-here?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=context-newsroom

 

Nighat Dad on PTV News 

Nighat Dad, DRF’s Executive Director, went on PTV News to talk about Pakistan’s General Election 2024 and the rampant disinformation online. She explained the meaning of fake news, deep fake & AI generated disinformation that will impact General Election 2024 in Pakistan & how we are just not prepared to handle it.

 

Nighat Dad on Neo TV

Nighat Dad went on Sahafi program on Neo TV to answer some important questions in relation with the General Elections of Pakistan 2024: 

How is propaganda done? How can deep fake and fake news be countered? How prepared is Pakistan to tackle fake news?

Watch it here: https://x.com/NeoNewsUR/status/1750234776446099573?s=20

 

DRF on Jhoot Such

DRF’s Program Lead Seerat Khan spoke to PTV News’s Jhoot Such about Cyber Stalking and the perils associated with it.

 

Link to talk: https://www.instagram.com/reel/C2y9cONygwW/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

DRF’s Sr. Project Manager Zainab Durrani talked to PTV’s Jhoot Such about the role of AI and Gen AI in the upcoming General Elections in Pakistan 2024. 

 

Link to talk: https://x.com/DigitalRightsPK/status/1746887172513484911?s=20

 

DRF on Awami Mukalma: Countering Online Hate Speech in Pakistan’s Election Discourse 

DRF’s Programs Lead Seerat Khan spoke on Awami Mukalma on countering hate speech in Pakistan’s Election Discourse. Seerat shared insights on what is hate speech and the importance of countering hate speech and reporting it during election time. She was joined on the panel by Asad Baig from Media Matters for Democracy and journalist Adil Shahzeb. 

 

Link to talk: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=264054746711667&ref=sharing

 

DRF in Press

1 Electronic Frontier Foundation Joint Statement on the Proposed Cybercrime Treaty Ahead of the Concluding Session https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2024/01/joint-statement-proposed-cybercrime-treaty-ahead-concluding-session
2 Economic Times Deepfakes deceive voters from India to Indonesia before elections https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/elections/lok-sabha/india/deepfakes-deceive-voters-from-india-to-indonesia-before-elections/articleshow/106504149.cms?from=mdr
3 The Hindu Deepfakes deceive voters from India to Indonesia before elections https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/deepfakes-deceive-voters-from-india-to-indonesia-before-elections/article67700785.ece
4 Telecom | The Economic Times Deepfakes deceive voters from India to Indonesia before elections https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/internet/deepfakes-deceive-voters-from-india-to-indonesia-before-elections/106498476
5 Phone World Doctored Videos Of Politicians Circulate In India, Pakistan Ahead Of Elections 2024 https://www.phoneworld.com.pk/doctored-videos-of-politicians-circulate-in-india-pakistan-ahead-of-elections-2024/
6 The Friday Times Political Parties Urged To Include Digital Protections In Electoral Manifestos https://thefridaytimes.com/04-Jan-2024/political-parties-urged-to-include-digital-protections-in-electoral-manifestos
7 BNN Digital Rights Foundation Calls for Inclusion of Digital Rights in Pakistan’s Electoral Platforms https://bnnbreaking.com/politics/digital-rights-foundation-calls-for-inclusion-of-digital-rights-in-pakistans-electoral-platforms/
8 The Current Legal fraternity criticizes Justice Naqvi’s resignation over expected perks https://thecurrent.pk/justice-mazahar-ali-akbar-naqvi-resigns-from-supreme-court/
9 The CS Monitor Could TikTok hoaxes tip upcoming South Asian elections? https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2024/0111/Could-TikTok-hoaxes-tip-upcoming-South-Asian-elections
10 Context News The deep fake elections are here https://www.context.news/ai/opinion/the-deepfake-elections-are-here
11 Urdu Point Digital rights activist calls for public awareness of fake news https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/digital-rights-activist-urges-public-awarenes-1785955.html
12 Dawn Online rallies, AI script: New threats loom ahead of 2024 polls https://www.dawn.com/news/1806163/online-rallies-ai-script-new-threats-loom-ahead-of-2024-polls
13 Pi News Digital rights activist calls for public awareness of fake news https://proiqra.com/digital-rights-activist-calls-for-public-awareness-of-fake-news-pi-news/
14 Minute Mirror Digital Rights Foundation unveils 6-point agenda on media freedom, journalist safety ahead of general elections https://minutemirror.com.pk/digital-rights-foundation-unveils-6-point-agenda-on-media-freedom-journalist-safety-ahead-of-general-elections-174597/
15 The Nation Social media, internet services reportedly down again in parts of Pakistan https://www.nation.com.pk/20-Jan-2024/social-media-internet-services-reportedly-down-again-in-parts-of-pakistan
16 The News Fintech industry for kids faces cybersecurity risks: experts https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1149821-fintech-industry-for-kids-faces-cybersecurity-risks-experts
17 Voice.pk 100 Journalists Sign Agenda For Inclusion Of Media, Digital Rights In Party Manifesto https://voicepk.net/2024/01/100-journalists-sign-agenda-for-inclusion-of-media-digital-rights-in-party-manifesto/
18 Gulf Times Deepfakes deceive voters from India to Indonesia before polls https://www.gulf-times.com/article/676002/opinion/deepfakes-deceive-voters-from-india-to-indonesia-before-polls
19 Ifex Looking ahead: Censorship, AI, disinformation, and repression undermining elections https://ifex.org/looking-ahead-censorship-ai-disinformation-and-repression-undermining-elections/
20 Nikkei Asia Pakistan social media outages squeeze Imran Khan party's last bastion https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Pakistan-social-media-outages-squeeze-Imran-Khan-party-s-last-bastion
21 The Nation Demanding accountability, transparency, and support for domestic violence survivors/victims in the media industry https://www.nation.com.pk/31-Jan-2024/demanding-accountability-transparency-and-support-for-domestic-violence-survivors-victims-in-the-media-industry
22 The Media Line Press Under Fire: Concerns Rise for Journalistic Freedoms in Pakistan After Reporters Summoned for Defaming Judiciary https://themedialine.org/people/press-under-fire-concerns-rise-for-journalistic-freedoms-in-pakistan-after-reporters-summoned-for-defaming-judiciary/
23 TechPolicy.Press A Growing Number of Women Activists Confront Technology and Gender-Based Violence https://www.techpolicy.press/a-growing-number-of-women-activists-confront-technology-and-genderbased-violence/
24 The Minute Mirror 83 journalists of Pakistan take firm stand for Nomaika Ashfaque Satti https://minutemirror.com.pk/83-journalists-of-pakistan-take-firm-stand-for-nomaika-ashfaque-satt-180734/

 

Events:

DRF at Alan Turing Institute at London School of Economics

DRF's Research Lead, Maryam Saeed, spoke at a panel hosted by the Alan Turing Institute in collaboration with the London School of Economics' Media and Communications Department. Alan Turing's data justice documentary was also shown at the event as part of their Advancing Data Justice Research Project, which included DRF as one of 12 global policy partners.

 

Watch the documentary here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=x0nCU9ptWqc&list=PLuD_SqLtxSdWAn5DuZu-ExBr46CvfYBek&index=4

 

Policy Dialogue at LUMS

DRF's Legal Team, represented by Irum Shujah and Shafia Imran, attended the Policy Dialogue event organized by the Directorate General Social Welfare & Bait ul Maal, Punjab, at LUMS. The legal team actively shaped the discourse around the forthcoming policy document to the Social Welfare and Bait ul Maal Department, Punjab.

 

During this dialogue, the legal team advocated for crucial aspects of digital inclusion and protection while emphasizing the need for digital literacy programs, robust data protection measures, and the importance of user-friendly online services. Additionally, the team underscored the importance of cybersecurity awareness and proposed collaboration with DRF to tackle evolving digital challenges.

 

TikTok CPC Training

DRF was invited to attend a training session on the new escalation system designed by TikTok. The Cyber Harassment Helpline team attended and has already started to use the new portal for escalating user complaints. 

 

Capacity building workshops in Islamabad and Karachi

DRF organized a series of three in-person capacity building workshops on navigating technology-facilitated online harms during the upcoming elections in Pakistan. Through our series of workshops, we aimed to build the capacity of social media users on different forms and nature of technology-facilitated online harms and the best practices to ensure that the digital spaces are accessible and their participation is safe in the charged political environment during the elections. The second workshop was held on 11th January in Islamabad with 25 participants and the third workshop was held on 18th January in Karachi with 28 participants from diverse religious backgrounds. They shared their experiences of online spaces and how it has impacted their lives in the real world.

 

Digital Citizen Program in Government Schools:

After the winter break, DRF held two sessions in government high schools in Lahore. 355 students (females and males) and 33 teachers were informed about ways of staying safe in online spaces and reporting mechanisms in case of harassment or bullying. The participants were given gift bags with online safety resources and stationary.

Cyberbullying and online safety session at LGS International 

DRF’s program lead Seerat Khan conducted a session on ‘'Cyberbullying and online safety’' at the LGS International school which was attended by 80 students from middle school. Students enthusiastically participated in the session and asked questions about specific online safety practices they should be keeping in mind. 

 

Source Verification and Fact-checking workshop for Journalists during Elections held in Peshawar 

DRF conducted a session on source verification and fact-checking in Peshawar with the support of Meta keeping in mind the upcoming general elections. The one day workshop addressed the emergence of disinformation and misinformation during elections and how to tackle and report dis/misinformation during this time and was attended by 30 journalists from Peshawar and adjacent areas. 

 

DRF Updates: 

Cyber Harassment Helpline 

 

The Cyber Harassment Helpline received 260 complaints in total in January, with 127 complaints by men. If you’re encountering a problem online, you can reach out to our helpline at 0800-39393, email us at [email protected] or reach out to us on our social media accounts. We’re available for assistance from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

IWF Portal

DRF in collaboration with Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and the Global Fund to End Violence Against Children launched a portal to combat children’s online safety in Pakistan. The new portal allows internet users in Pakistan to anonymously report child sexual abuse material in three different languages- English, Urdu, and Pashto.

 

www.report.iwf.org.uk/pk 

 

StopNCII.org

Meta along with Revenge Porn Helpline (RPH) has launched a portal to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image Abuse (NCII). NCII is a free portal for reporting cases of sensitive or sexual content existing online. Once you report a case, the necessary steps will be taken to block the images from the platform.

 

https://stopncii.org/

January 16, 2024 - Comments Off on DRF launches Disinformation Whatsapp Tipline to counter Gendered Disinformation during the elections

DRF launches Disinformation Whatsapp Tipline to counter Gendered Disinformation during the elections

December 21, 2023

Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) in collaboration with Meedan and Check has launched the Disinformation Whatsapp Tipline to counter growing gendered disinformation and misinformation during the elections. The WhatsApp Tipline is a move towards documenting instances of growing disinformation which is shaping narratives and reinforcing online harms like hate speech and technology facilitated-gender-based violence in Pakistan, particularly during election time. 

The WhatsApp Tipline is available in both Urdu and English and can be reached at 0301-3249539. Mithu, an interactive bot, greets users at the Tipline and collects content that is false, sexist, and misogynistic in nature which can be in the form of text, pictures, videos and audio. To share content on the Tipline all one needs to do is share links or the content itself on the WhatsApp number and their response will be recorded by Mithu. With the upcoming elections, there will be a rise of disinformation particularly targeting women politicians, journalists and human rights defenders which will translate into offline spaces. The WhatsApp tipline is a step to counter these harmful narratives stemming from social media platforms in such a crucial democratic moment. 

DRF’s Nighat Dad noted, ‘We’re seeing a rise in harmful content online particularly with respect to gendered disinformation with the use of false information manipulating the masses and the use of sexist and misogynistic narratives that are perpetuating harms. These attacks are well coordinated and planned and seem to be adding to offline harms of individuals, particularly women human rights defenders and journalists. The tipline is one step towards documenting these and ensuring to make Hamara Internet a safer space for all.’

Digital Rights Foundation is a registered research-based NGO in Pakistan. Founded in 2012, DRF focuses on ICTs to support human rights, inclusiveness, democratic processes, and digital governance. DRF works on issues of online free speech, privacy, data protection and online violence against women.

QR Code for Disinformation Whatsapp Tipline

For more information log on: www.digitalrightsfoundation.pk 

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Nighat Dad 
[email protected] 

Hyra Basit 
[email protected] 

Seerat Khan
[email protected]

January 16, 2024 - Comments Off on Digital Rights Foundation’s Conference on Countering Digital Threats and Building Resilience of Communities

Digital Rights Foundation’s Conference on Countering Digital Threats and Building Resilience of Communities

December 15, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) held a conference titled, ‘Countering Digital Threats and Building Resilience of Communities’ on Friday, 15th December 2023 in Islamabad. DRF’s conference addressed the lack of discourse relating to online freedoms in the country particularly with the rise of hate speech and disinformation against vulnerable and at-risk communities in Pakistan. The conference brought together experts from across the country with two panels that highlighted DRF’s engagements and redressal mechanisms available in the country for at-risk communities in Pakistan.

The event started off with welcome remarks by Seerat Khan Programs Lead at DRF in which she highlighted the particular vulnerabilities that religious minorities face in the country, especially with respect to rising hate speech and disinformation. Nighat Dad, Executive Director at Digital Rights Foundation also noted that “With the upcoming elections we see how harmful content pertaining to religious minorities in the country is increasing, particularly (the elements of) disinformation and hate speech. The rise in hate speech and disinformation will be even more rapid with the use of AI and generative AI which is quite concerning. The Election Commission and government institutions need to address this and include hate speech in the code of conduct for political parties that the Commission is developing. Social media platforms also need to do more to address how hate speech and disinformation spread and impact they have on at-risk communities in countries like Pakistan.”

In 2021, DRF conducted a research on "Religious Minorities in Online Spaces (2021)," addressing communities' vulnerabilities to attacks, disinformation campaigns, harassment, and hate speech. The research mapped the experiences of religious minorities in online spaces and through surveys and interviews, we found a majority of respondents for the aforementioned research experienced online negativity, including backlash or threats on the basis of religious affiliation and/or a combination of factors.

The first panel of the conference, ‘Navigating Digital Boundaries: Combating Online Hate Speech and Disinformation’ was a conversation about the challenges posed by online hate speech and disinformation targeting at-risk communities. The panel was moderated by Senior Program Manager Zainab Durrani and included NCHR Secretary Mr. Kamran Rajar, Dr. Shoaib Suddle, One Man Commission for Minorities, Academic Dr. Ayra Patras, Journalist Sajjad Azhar and Director of Bolo Bhi, Usama Khilji. The panelists shed light on how online hate speech and disinformation manifest online and how to combat these as a community together.

Dr. Ayra Patras said,”When religious minority communities are ostracized in real life then you see the replication of this behavior online as well. We see more hate speech and there are no recompense mechanisms in place that actually work.” She added,”The social discrimination faced by these communities germinates into social exclusion and the consequences are far-reaching and become entrenched in real life.

The second panel of the event was on ‘Bridging the Digital Divide: Ensuring Equal Access for All’ which was moderated by Programs Lead Seerat Khan. The panel was joined by NCHR Member Minorities Manzoor Masih, Former Senator Farahtullah Baber, Community Leader and Activist Sunil Gulzar Khan and Cyber Harassment Helpline Manager Hyra Basit. The panel addressed mechanisms needed to ensure safe spaces for at-risk communities, particularly in light of the upcoming elections and the need for community building and resilience.

Senator Farhatullah Babar said,”The discussion around digital divide is very timely in light of  the upcoming elections. In Pakistan, media has played a great role in elections and online disinformation is a very real issue.” He added,”It is very important to considers all actors complicit in the online disinformation campaign and more than most, its the state is complicit”. He advocated for the Election Commission of Pakistan to develop a code of conduct for media house that is focused on combating disinformation on social media.

Digital Rights Foundation is a registered research-based NGO in Pakistan. Founded in 2012, DRF focuses on ICTs to support human rights, inclusiveness, democratic processes, and digital governance. DRF works on issues of online free speech, privacy, data protection and online violence against women.
For more information log on: www.digitalrightsfoundation.pk

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January 11, 2024 - Comments Off on December 2023 Newsletter: DRF holds Countering Digital Threats and Building Resilience of Communities Conference

December 2023 Newsletter: DRF holds Countering Digital Threats and Building Resilience of Communities Conference

Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) held a conference ‘Countering Digital Threats and Building Resilience of Communities’ on 15th December 2023 in Islamabad. The conference brought together experts from across the country to discuss digital safety, online religious freedoms and building a safer Hamara Internet and countering hate speech and disinformation for greater access to the internet for all.

Press Coverage:

We News https://en.wenews.pk/digital-rights-foundations-conference-speakers-seek-countering-digital-threats/
Pak Profile https://pakprofile.com/2023/12/15/drf-conference-digital-threats-community-resilience-cybersecurity-tech-news/
Jehan Pakistan https://jehanpakistan.com/epaper/epaper.php?edition=islamabad&date=161223
DND https://dnd.com.pk/conversation-on-online-hate-speech-and-disinformation-held/307880
Express Tribune https://tribune.com.pk/story/2450153/moot-discusses-ways-to-combat-hate-speech
Pak Observer https://pakobserver.net/drf-moot-on-countering-digital-threats-and-building-resilience-of-communities/
The Friday Times https://thefridaytimes.com/16-Dec-2023/state-complicit-in-online-disinformation-campaigns-farhatullah-babar
Minute Mirror https://minutemirror.com.pk/drf-held-conference-to-counter-digital-threats-and-building-resilience-of-communities-159458/
NNI
The Destination
The Spokesman
Islamabad Post
Nawa-i-Waqt
DRF’s Legal Team wins case against ARY in favor of Journalist Asma Shirazi

We laud the recent decision of the Islamabad High Court by Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani in "Civil Miscellaneous Appeal No. 16 of 2023, Asma Shirazi versus Council of Complaints through Secretary" in support of Asma Shirazi, a senior female journalist in Pakistan. Represented by the all-women legal team from DRF, which included Nighat Dad, Irum Shujah, Aqsa Javed, Shafia Imran Lati, and Minahil Farooq, this legal victory against the state-owned media watchdog's complaint body marks a significant milestone. It signifies a crucial step in holding accountable those responsible for spreading disinformation, especially when their targets are women journalists. This verdict represents a noteworthy moment in Pakistan's legal landscape. We appreciate the established precedent that now empowers journalists to raise their voices against entities and individuals attempting to tarnish their credibility and work.

Read the judgement here: https://mis.ihc.gov.pk/attachments/judgements/156193/1/Civil_Miscellaneous_Appeal_No._16_of_2023_638373080860192817.pdf

Nighat Dad at UNSG AI High Level Advisory Board meeting

Nighat Dad attended the UNSG AI High Level Advisory Board meeting where she worked on setting a robust foundation for a report on AI harms, opportunities and AI governance. This report poised to shape how AI intertwines with our societal fabric. Nighat worked with Antonio Guterres, UN General Secretary, who amidst the Security Council meeting, spent number of hours to engage in discussions about AI governance with the members of the High-Level Advisory Body on AI.

Policy Initiatives:

High-Level Advisory Body on AI | Interim Report: Governing AI for Humanity

The United Nations' High-Level Advisory Body on AI launched its "Interim Report: Governing AI for Humanity" discusses the global governance deficit in AI and makes preliminary recommendations. The report emphasizes the importance of inclusive, public-interest-focused governance, integrating AI with data governance, and basing AI governance on the UN Charter, International Human Rights Law, and the Sustainable Development Goals. It outlines the institutional functions required for international AI governance, such as conducting regular assessments of AI's future directions, developing standards, and promoting international collaboration. The report advocates for a balanced approach in which AI benefits humanity while mitigating risks.

Read the entire report here: https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/ai_advisory_body_interim_report.pdf

#16DaysofActivism Campaign
  • Digital Art Competition: DRF’s program team held a digital art exhibition of feminist digital art in Pakistan with 6 digital artists on the topic ‘AI and Generative AI’s Impact on Technology- Facilitated Gender-based Violence in South Asia.’
  • Digital Art Competition Winners Live Chat:

  • Link to video:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/C0oMIUNLgrw/
  • Countering Digital Threats Toolkit Launch | X Space
  • DRF’s legal team discussed our “Countering Digital Threats” toolkit. They shared information on cybercrimes, relevant laws, and steps on how to keep yourself safe online. It is a go-to manual for a secure online world.

    Link to space: https://twitter.com/i/spaces/1ypJdkadwzqGW

  • 75th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Saanjhi Kahaniyan

DRF's communications team wrote & co-directed 'Saanjhi Kahaniyan: Diverse Experiences of Individuals Online', a theater play about DRF's Cyber Harassment Helpline cases. The play depicted vulnerable people's online experiences.

Watch the play here: https://youtu.be/h9Xg9LDkmkw

Press Coverage:

Nighat Dad speaks to Hum News about AI

DRF's Executive Director Nighat Dad talked to Hum News about how AI has the potential to change the world, but we must take into account the dire consequences of misusing AI and Generative AI & find ways to govern it globally. This is what she as a member of UN's AI Advisory Body focus on.

Unmasking the Epidemic of Womens Abuse | Daily Times

The article discusses the severe issue of women's abuse in Balochistan, Pakistan, particularly focusing on teenage girls facing cyberbullying. It highlights the situation in cities like Quetta and Turbat, where young girls preparing for medical college admission tests are subjected to cyberbullying. The Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) is mentioned in reference to its 2018 report, which revealed that 72% of Pakistani women subjected to cyberbullying experienced various forms of online persecution, impacting their education and well-being. The article calls for comprehensive strategies to address these issues, including educational reforms and legal measures.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/1156203/unmasking-the-epidemic-of-womens-abuse/

Events:

Nighat Dad at the 75th Anniversary of Genocide Convention - Human Rights Council

DRF's Executive Director Nighat Dad spoke on the 75th Anniversary of Genocide Convention - Human Rights Council addressing the role of social media platforms in response to content that incites violence and discrimination.

Watch it here: https://webtv.un.org/en/asset/k1u/k1uv9ghl6o

Nighat Dad speaks at Human Rights 75 – High-level Event by UN

Nighat Dad spoke at the UN 75 High-level Event "The Future of Human Rights and Digital Technologies," and said that now that we're talking about emerging tech and how governments will make frameworks and policies, we should take a pause and actually think about what we've done in the past 15 years, and whether we're not making the same mistakes as before. Are we thinking about the existing international human rights frameworks and CSO interventions? That, I believe, should be our starting point.

Watch it here: https://webtv.un.org/en/asset/k1d/k1diw7g1wv

One Day Self-care Wellbeing Workshop

DRF in collaboration with Dr. Nabiha Chaudhary held a one-day participatory workshop with women human rights defenders on 12th December 2023. The workshop addressed the specific needs of woman human rights defenders relating to self-care and well-being and also addressed burnout that individuals face in the field.

Source Verification and Fact-Checking Workshop During Elections

DRF in collaboration with Meta held a one-day workshop on source verification and fact-checking workshop in times of elections in Lahore with 30 journalists. The workshop addressed election-specific disinformation, misinformation and hate speech and presented tools to participants for verifying the authenticity of the news.

Capacity Building Workshop in Lahore

DRF is organizing a series of three in-person capacity building workshops on navigating technology-facilitated online harms during the upcoming elections Pakistan. Through our series of workshops, we aim to build the capacity of social media users on different forms and nature of technology-facilitated online harms and the best practices to ensure that the digital spaces are accessible and their participation is safe in the charged political environment during the elections. The first was held on 12th December in Lahore with 36 participants from diverse religious backgrounds. They shared their experiences of online spaces and how it has impacted their lives in the real world.

IFEX Generative AI Cafecito

DRF attended the session “Hey, ChatGPT? We have Questions!” - IFEX’s virtual Cafecito on the implications of Generative AI for our work and our world on 5th December. The event focused on the adoption of generative AI and the human rights implications due to it. Conversations around the potential impact of generative AI on the work of human rights defenders and civil society also took place in the session in breakout groups. DRF’s programs lead Seerat Khan facilitate a breakout session for the closed event.

DRF Updates:

Cyber Harassment Helpline

The Cyber Harassment Helpline received 159 complaints in total December, with 90 complaints by women. If you’re encountering a problem online, you can reach out to our helpline at 0800-39393, email us at [email protected] or reach out to us on our social media accounts. We’re available for assistance from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

IWF Portal

DRF in collaboration with Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and the Global Fund to End Violence Against Children launched a portal to combat children’s online safety in Pakistan. The new portal allows internet users in Pakistan to anonymously report child sexual abuse material in three different languages- English, Urdu, and Pashto.

www.report.iwf.org.uk/pk

StopNCII.org

Meta along with Revenge Porn Helpline (RPH) has launched a portal to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image Abuse (NCII). NCII is a free portal for reporting cases of sensitive or sexual content existing online. Once you report a case, the necessary steps will be taken to block the images from the platform.

https://stopncii.org/

January 4, 2024 - Comments Off on PAKISTAN: 6-POINT AGENDA ON DIGITAL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS FOR POLITICAL PARTIES’ ELECTORAL MANIFESTOS

PAKISTAN: 6-POINT AGENDA ON DIGITAL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS FOR POLITICAL PARTIES’ ELECTORAL MANIFESTOS

With the upcoming general elections in Pakistan, the Digital Rights Foundation urges political parties to include six key digital rights issues in their manifestos. This is crucial for a robust democracy, enabling citizens to scrutinize the new government effectively. The issues range from funding AI research initiatives and establishing a robust data protection regime, including enacting Data Protection Law, to PECA amendments and law enforcement capacity building. Additionally, it involves parliamentary oversight on the FIA’s Cyber Crime Wing, monitoring the actions of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, conducting human rights impact assessments on tech tools and cyber policies, bridging digital divide across Pakistan and revising existing tech policies that are detrimental to fundamental rights in the digital age.

1. Institute Parliamentary Oversight, Impact Assessment and Human Rights Audits:
    • Ensure effective and robust parliamentary oversight of the FIA under Section 53 of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016, while ensuring alignment with human rights principles.
    • Convene a multi-stakeholder committee, inclusive of legal experts, human rights advocates, and technology professionals, to amend the problematic and vague sections of PECA.
      • Defamation should be removed as a criminal offense by repealing Section 20 of the ‘Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016’ and Section 499/500 of the Pakistan Penal Code in compliance with General Comment No. 34, Human Rights Committee.
      • Section 37 of the ‘Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016’ should be repealed and ‘Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards), Rules 2021’ should be denotified, and all laws concerning freedom of expression should be amended to remove vague/overbroad criteria for online content moderation.
    • Initiate a comprehensive impact assessment of the Federal Investigation Agency's Cyber Crime Wing, with a focus on evaluating its effectiveness and adherence to human rights standards. Ensure the findings of impact assessments lead to amendments and improvements to the existing structure, capacity, objectives and rules and protocols that aim to safeguard vulnerable groups rather than harm them.
    • Establish and implement effective transparency and accountability measures through mandatory human rights audits, such as through the National Commission on Human Rights, of state agencies and bodies regarding the acquisition of technologies used to regulate digital content, communications and data.
2. Ensure Digital Accessibility and Inclusion:
      • Make a firm commitment to prohibit and prevent arbitrary internet shutdowns that hamper the citizen’s access to the internet, a fundamental right and one essential for the exercise of other human rights. Pay particular attention to the internet shutdown in the ex-FATA area which has lasted more than 7 years since its issuance in June 2016. Despite some progress in 2021 regarding the restoration of the internet in some parts overall access in these regions remain precarious as services are frequently re-suspended on vague security grounds.
      • Ensure the incorporation of digital accessibility standards into national policies, such as the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to ensure that website content and online services and platforms are accessible for individuals with disabilities and language constraints.
      • Invest in the expansion of reliable and affordable internet infrastructure, prioritizing rural and underserved areas to bridge the digital divide for this demographic and women and girls. Additionally, collaborate with technology providers to ensure the availability of budget-friendly and user-friendly devices, catering specifically to the needs of women and girls.

3. Protect Online Freedoms: Right to Privacy, Assembly and Association & Freedom of Expression

      • Amend the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023 to align it with the international human rights standards. Initiate transparent and inclusive consultations with relevant stakeholders to make the bill human rights centric as the current bill falls short of ensuring protection of people, their data and rights.  Ensure that the law requires establishing an independent oversight body which has substantive powers to hold private and public bodies accountable for breaches of citizens’ privacy and data security and finally enact data protection law in order to protect personal data of citizens of Pakistan.
      • Ensure Constitutional guarantees including the right to online freedom of assembly and association under Article 16. Make explicit guarantees to stop blocking of digital communications to prevent public gatherings and mobilisation under section 54(3) of the ‘Pakistan Telecommunications Act 1996’. 
      • Implement safeguards to prevent the misuse of cybercrime laws on the freedom of expression of citizens, particularly individuals charged by authorities for online content deemed critical of public figures and institutions.
4. Ensure Ethical use of Artificial Intelligence (AI):
        • Establish a dedicated AI Ethics Committee with inclusive representatives from civil society, academics, businesses, and technical experts to:
          • develop and adhere to clear Ethical Guidelines for the Use of AI by the State, particularly including the use of facial recognition systems and social media surveillance to ensure they are grounded in the human rights principles of legality, necessity, and proportionality.
          • continuously assess and update the guidelines to ensure that the development, design and deployment of AI technology is human rights centric and doesn’t exclude the experiences of marginalized communities.
5. Protect Rights of Businesses and IT Industry
    • Establish a task force comprising industry experts, businesses and policymakers to regularly review and update policies that impact the industry, fostering innovation and growth.
    • Implement inclusive policies and strategies that cater to the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the IT sector, such as providing access to finance, mentorship programs, and regulatory relief. 

Align national laws and regulations with international standards and treaties, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which ensure that businesses operate responsibly and respect human rights throughout their activities

6. Elevate Digital Literacy and Research on Tech and AI
      • Implement targeted digital literacy programs designed for women, girls and the transgender community aimed at fostering proficiency in fundamental computer literacy, internet navigation, and online safety practices, particularly focusing on the rural and fringe populations..
      • Incorporate comprehensive digital citizenship programs into education curricula, emphasizing responsible online behavior, ethical use of technology and AI, and digital rights awareness for children.
      • Enhance research infrastructure in Pakistan and foster collaboration with foreign research think tanks to expedite research on technology, digital rights, and AI, facilitating informed policies and strategies.
 General comment no. 34, Article 19, Freedoms of opinion and expression, UN. Human Rights Committee (102nd sess.:201:Geneva). Accessed at: https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/715606

December 13, 2023 - Comments Off on November 2023 Newsletter: DRF begins its 16 Days of Activism Campaign

November 2023 Newsletter: DRF begins its 16 Days of Activism Campaign

DRF launched its Whatsapp Disinformation Tipline

                   

Digital Rights Foundation is documenting instances of gendered disinformation through our Disinformation Whatsapp Tipline. You can send us a screenshot or link on DRF's Whatsapp Tipline on 03013249539 and help us document and counter gendered disinformation online!

 

DRF launched the 4th Edition of Digital 50.50 - ‘Elections in the Digital Age’

This edition examines how digital tech will affect elections, democracy, and social media in the upcoming Pakistan elections.

Our team also held an X space to discuss the edition with our contributors.

Read it here: https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/elections-in-the-digital-age/

 

Policy Initiatives: 

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

DRF began the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign. It will include the 5th Edition of Digital 50.50, a Digital Art Competition, two animated videos and the launch of Countering Digital Threats Toolkit.

 

Follow the campaign through #16DaysofActivism

 

In Collaboration with Coalition Against Online Violence 

 

DRF with the support of Coalition Against Online Violence (CAOV), produced 6 animated videos, arranged a play and developed a comic book to highlight the lived experiences of the most marginalized people in Pakistan. Keep a lookout on our campaign with the hashtag #SaanjhiKahaniyan.

 

Press Coverage: 

Nighat Dad becomes Ciarb’s first female Muslim Pakistani Trustee

https://www.ciarb.org/news/nighat-dad-becomes-ciarb-s-first-female-muslim-pakistani-trustee/

 

Nighat Dad on Geo News

DRF's Executive Director Nighat Dad talked about her new role in the UN's Artificial Intelligence (AI) Advisory Body and how most AI development is happening in isolation and that there are concerns about the lack of safety guardrails for this exponential growth.

Watch here: https://x.com/DigitalRightsPK/status/1725102813632704876?s=20

 

Nighat Dad on Bol News

In her interview with Bol News about becoming a member of the UN Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence (AI), DRF Executive Director Nighat Dad praised the inclusion of people from the global south, who have traditionally been excluded from AI governance discussions. She went on to say that it is critical for the government of Pakistan to support initiatives that advance artificial intelligence in Pakistan while adhering to the international frameworks established for AI governance.

 

Jhoot Such Segment | PTV News

Digital Rights Foundation’s Senior Legal Associate, Irum Shujah, appeared on PTV News’ “Jhoot Such”. Throughout the segment, she provided her perspective on the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, delving into its impact on the general public. The conversation also delved into digital literacy, exploring the responsibility associated with using these platforms. Furthermore, the discussion covered topics such as cyberstalking, maintaining modesty in online spaces, and other crucial concepts related to cybercrimes.

https://youtu.be/yLRrKFTfzZ0?si=aU5I78_uLzcVQuw_

 

Jhoot Such Segment | PTV News

Seerat Khan, DRF's program lead, appeared on PTV's Jhoot Such to discuss the rampant spread of mis/disinformation, particularly through credible sources. She believes it is because media houses are competing to be the first to break news.

 

A year after Elon Musk bought Twitter, X is now a 'worthless' platform some say is no longer safe for activists | ABC News

Nighat Dad, DRF’s Executive Director, told Reuters that the impact of Mr Musk's staff cuts was felt immediately. Previously, when female political dissidents, journalists, or activists in Pakistan were impersonated online or experienced targeted harassment such as false accusations of blasphemy that could put them in danger, Ms Dad's group had a direct line to Twitter.

But when Mr Musk took over, Ms Dad said they struggled to get responses to requests for urgent take-downs of such high-risk content. 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-02/twitter-elon-musk-one-year-world-human-rights-x-social-media/103044304

 

RSF and 16 partners unveil Paris Charter on AI and Journalism | Reporters without Borders

Nighat Dad, Executive Director of the Digital Rights Foundation, was named as a Committee member of Paris Charter on AI and Journalism that defines ethics and principles that journalists, newsrooms and media outlets around the world will be able to appropriate and apply in their work with artificial intelligence. It was created by a commission initiated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and chaired by journalist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa. 

https://rsf.org/en/rsf-and-16-partners-unveil-paris-charter-ai-and-journalism

 

The digital gender gap, a major obstacle to the fight for equality for women in Pakistan | EL PAÍS International

Digital Rights Foundation’s Cyber Harassment Helpline’s Annual Report was quoted in this article that stated that forty percent of Pakistani women have experienced some form of online harassment.

https://english.elpais.com/international/2023-11-14/the-digital-gender-gap-a-major-obstacle-to-the-fight-for-equality-for-women-in-pakistan.html

 

Digital apartheid and the use of social media algorithms in humanitarian crises | Global Voices

DRF’s Project Lead Seerat Khan penned this article. It explores the concept of "digital apartheid" in the context of social media platforms and their alleged bias in censoring, shadow banning, and removing content related to the Palestine-Israel conflict. It expresses concerns about selective amplification or suppression of voices, drawing parallels with previous incidents such as Myanmar's Rohingya crisis. The article highlights censorship-evading user tactics such as "algorithm breaks" and "fooling the algorithms." The article emphasizes the role of social media in documenting humanitarian crises and condemns perceived discrimination as a violation of human rights, resulting in digital apartheid.

https://globalvoices.org/2023/11/14/digital-apartheid-and-the-use-of-social-media-algorithms-in-humanitarian-crises/

 

Events:

Relaunch of Ab Aur Nahin

DRF relaunched its Ab Aur Nahin portal. It is a confidential legal and counselor support service portal specifically designed for survivors of harassment. It was marked through a X/Twitter space. The speakers discussed the promotion of a safer online environment for all and raise awareness about the importance of combating cyber-harassment through reporting. 

Listen to it here: https://x.com/DigitalRightsPK/status/1720034065078952190?s=20

 

Press Release: https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/digital-rights-foundation-relaunches-ab-aur-nahin-a-pro-bono-online-portal-for-women-seeking-legal-representation/

 

Visit https://abaurnahin.pk for more details. 

 

Press Coverage

 

The Friday Times https://thefridaytimes.com/02-Nov-2023/drf-relaunches-portal-for-women-seeking-legal-aid
Ananke Magazine https://anankemag.com/2023/11/02/pakistani-digital-platform-offers-women-avenues-to-report-seek-advice-related-to-gbv/

 

Annual Pakistan Association of Pathology conference 

DRF was represented at the 44th Annual Pakistan Association of Pathology (PAP) Conference held on the 18th of November, 2023. DRF’s Senior Program Manager Zainab Durrani joined the conference virtually and shared highlights of DRF’s 2023 research study on ‘Data Privacy in Pakistan’s Healthcare Sector’, which maps the state of privacy as it pertains to patients and medical practitioners in Pakistan’s public and private healthcare sectors. The report sheds light on the dearth of understanding around data confidentiality and heightened protections required for personal medical data in particular, as they pertain to citizens of Pakistan.

 

Digital Citizen Program in Goverment Schools

Since last month, DRF has held 7 sessions in different schools across Lahore. 1170 students (females and males) and 123 teachers were informed about ways of staying safe in online spaces and reporting mechanisms incase of harassment or bullying. The participants were given gift bags with online safety resources and stationary.

 

Nighat Dad attended Paris Peace Forum 2023

Nighat Dad met the French President Macron at the Paris Peace Forum, where they discussed AI governance during a working dinner. Nighat has recently joined UN’s Advisory Body on AI.

 

Consultative Meeting on Disrupting Harm Project by the National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC)

On November 17, 2023, the NCRC held a meeting involving its stakeholders and members of civil society. The purpose was to gather insights and recommendations regarding cases of physical and sexual abuse involving minors. This meeting was convened to fulfill the mandate outlined in Section 15 of the NCRC Act, 2017. The Digital Rights Foundation actively participated in the session, contributing by sharing cases and statistics from its Cyber Harassment Helpline, particularly highlighting instances of online violence against minors."

 

Digital Well-being and Safety Fellowship

Digital Rights Foundation held the digital well-being and safety fellowship with 10 women journalists from across Pakistan from 30th October to 1st November 2023. This year DRF’s team received 170 applications from across Pakistan and 10 were shortlisted for a three-day intensive convening on online safety, legal recourse, misinformation and disinformation and well-being and self-care for women journalists. The fellowship is the third of its kind with women journalists. 

 

Virtual Roundtable on WhatsApp Channels

DRF’s programs lead Seerat Khan and Cyber harassment helpline manager Hyra Basit participated in a virtual roundtable on WhatsApp channels by Meta in which a discussion around how to use WhatsApp channels for social causes was discussed in detail. These channels provide an enhanced way to connect with different communities, similar to other social media applications. Now, we can utilize WhatsApp Channels to improve our communication and engagement strategies across various platforms. This development opens up new possibilities for collaboration and outreach.

 

SIRIUS Annual Conference 2023

DRF’s program lead participated in the SIRIUS Annual Conference by EuroJust in the workshop titled, ‘Scrolling for truth' workshop’. The panel focused on Data preservation and content moderation when facing international crimes. DRF’s Seerat Khan talked in detail about DRF’s comments to Meta’s oversight board and platform accountability in content moderation policies. 

 

Meta Trusted Partner Roundtable: Pakistan

DRF’s program team was part of Meta’s trusted partner roundtable from Pakistan focusing on online content trends in Pakistan. DRF’s team highlighted the importance of countering misinformation and disinformation on platforms particularly when elections are emerging. Concerns around the emergence of AI and deep fake technology in targeting human rights defenders, journalists and public figures was also discussed in detail. 

 

StopNCII.org NGO network meeting

Anmol, Hyra, and Ayesha attended a virtual meeting on November 22. We talked about new things and tools that can help make it easier for people who make complaints. This means we are looking at ways to improve how our system works so that it's simpler and better for the people reaching out with their concerns. We want to ensure we use helpful features to make things easier for everyone.

 

Disinformation, Elections, and the Role of Platforms: Case Studies from Asia

DRF’s program lead spoke on a consultative roundtable on disinformation, elections and the role of platforms particularly from Asia. Partners from the Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh discussed methods of monitoring platforms during elections and countering disinformation during this time. 

 

“I4T global epistemic community” supported by UNESCO

On November 10, 2023, the DRF took part in a UNESCO meeting focused on shaping the concept of an "Internet for Trust Global Epistemic Community." This conversation aimed to aid in the oversight of digital platforms with a global lens. The session invited various stakeholders and members of civil society to contribute, fostering a "network of networks." This was envisioned as a multi-stakeholder environment for discussions and the exchange of best practices related to regulating digital platforms. DRF participated in this initiative, sharing its observed best practices in online spaces and contributing insights toward building an epistemic online community.

 

Policy Committee Meeting by Global Network Initiative 

On 16 November 2023, the Global Network Initiative (GNI) held a Policy Committee meeting involving different stakeholders and members of civil society. During the meeting, a comprehensive discussion was held on the Online Safety Bill currently under consideration in the Sri Lankan Parliament. The session delved into the legal challenges and concerns regarding its potential impact on fundamental rights and the democratic principles of Sri Lanka. Additionally, UNESCO guidelines were also discussed during the meeting. UNESCO stressed the importance of "multistakeholder discussion" and expressed intent to collaborate with networks such as GNI in fostering civil society participation in this initiative.

 

DRF Updates: 

Cyber Harassment Helpline 

The Cyber Harassment Helpline received 190 complaints in total October, with 87 complaints by men. If you’re encountering a problem online, you can reach out to our helpline at 0800-39393, email us at [email protected] or reach out to us on our social media accounts. We’re available for assistance from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

 

IWF Portal

DRF in collaboration with Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and the Global Fund to End Violence Against Children launched a portal to combat children’s online safety in Pakistan. The new portal allows internet users in Pakistan to anonymously report child sexual abuse material in three different languages- English, Urdu, and Pashto.

 

www.report.iwf.org.uk/pk 

 

StopNCII.org

Meta along with Revenge Porn Helpline (RPH) has launched a portal to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image Abuse (NCII). NCII is a free portal for reporting cases of sensitive or sexual content existing online. Once you report a case, the necessary steps will be taken to block the images from the platform.

 

https://stopncii.org/

December 8, 2023 - Comments Off on تم لڑکی ہو سوشل میڈیا تمہارے لیے نہیں ہے

تم لڑکی ہو سوشل میڈیا تمہارے لیے نہیں ہے

خالدہ نیاز

میرا بھی دل چاہتا ہے کہ سوشل میڈیا استعمال کروں، ٹک ٹاک پر ویڈیوز بناوں لیکن میں ایسا نہیں کرسکتی کیونکہ نہ تو میرے پاس سمارٹ فون ہے اور نہ ہی مجھے تصاویر اور ویڈیوز بنانے کی اجازت ہے۔

یہ کہنا ہے ضلع نوشہرہ سے تعلق رکھنے والی ندا کا جو اس وقت ایف ایس سی پارٹ ٹو کی طالبہ ہے۔ ندا کا کہنا ہے کہ اس کو بھائی نے سختی سے منع کیا ہے کہ موبائل کو ہاتھ بھی نہ لگائے اور اگر اس نے کہیں پہ تصاویر بنائی تو یہ اس کے کالج کا آخری دن ہوگا۔ ندا کا کہنا ہے کہ آجکل جدید ٹیکنالوجی کا دور ہے انکو پڑھائی کے لیے بھی سمارٹ فون کی ضرورت ہوتی ہے لیکن وہ موبائل استعمال نہیں کرسکتی کیونکہ اس کو اس کی اجازت نہیں ہے۔

ندا کا کہنا ہے اس کے علاقے میں لڑکیوں کو سوشل میڈیا استعمال کرنے کی اجازت نہیں ہے کیونکہ اس کی وجہ سے کوئی بھی انکی تصاویر اور باقی مواد کا غلط استعمال کرسکتا ہے اور یوں انکی زندگیوں میں طوفان کھڑا ہوسکتا ہے۔ ندا نے بتایا کہ سوشل میڈیا بذات خود غلط نہیں ہے لیکن لوگوں نے اس کا استعمال غلط کیا ہے جس کی وجہ سے لڑکیوں کے لیے مسائل بن جاتے ہیں اور پھر انکی طرح کئی لڑکیاں پڑھائی کے لیے بھی اس کا استعمال نہیں کرسکتی۔

کہیں کسی نے انکی تصاویر کو ایڈیٹ کرکے غلط استعمال تو نہیں کیا

پشاور سے تعلق رکھنے والی ایک نرس نسرین (فرضی نام) نے بتایا کہ ایک دن وہ بیٹھی فیس بک استعمال کررہی تھی جب اس کو مسینجرپر ایک میسج موصول ہوا۔ جب انہوں نے وہ میسج کھولا تو اس میں لکھا ہوا تھا کہ اس لنک پر کلک کرکے دیکھیں اس میں انکی اور انکے بوائے فرینڈ کی تصاویر اور چیٹ لیک ہوئی ہے۔ نسرین نے کہا کہ میسج دیکھ کر انکے پاوں سے زمین نکل گئی اگرچہ نہ تو انکا کوئی بوائے فرینڈ ہے اور نہ ہی کسی اور کے ساتھ کوئی تعلق لیکن ایک لمحے کو وہ ڈر گئی کہ کہیں کسی نے انکی تصاویر کو ایڈیٹ کرکے غلط استعمال تو نہیں کیا۔

نسرین نے جب اس لنک پر کلک کیا تو وہ نہیں کھل رہا تھا۔ بعد میں انہوں نے وہ لنک اپنی دوست کو بھیجا اور سارا قصہ سنایا۔ جب اپنی دوست کو وہ لنک بھیجا تو اس نے بتایا کہ اس میں کچھ بھی نہیں یہ ایک سپیم ہے۔ نسرین نے کہا کہ اس دن کے بعد سے وہ بہت ڈر گئی تھی اور یوں انہوں نے فیس بک اور مسینجر کا استعمال کرنا ہی چھوڑ دیا کیونکہ وہ اب بہت ڈر گئی ہے۔

خیبرپختونخوا میں خواتین جدید ٹیکنالوجی سے دور کیوں

خیبرپختونخوا میں زیادہ تر خواتین سوشل میڈیا اور جدید ٹیکنالوجی سے دور ہیں اس کی بڑی وجہ یہاں کا کلچر ہے۔ زیادہ تر مرد خواتین کو سوشل میڈیا استعمال کرنے کی اجازت نہیں دیتے اور خواتین کے پاس سمارٹ فونز بھی نہیں ہوتے۔

خیبرپختونخوا میں بہت کم خواتین کے پاس سمارٹ فونز ہوتے ہیں اور سوشل میڈیا تک انکی پہنچ نہیں ہوتی لیکن اگر کسی لڑکی یا خاتون کی کوئی تصویر یا ویڈیو سوشل میڈیا پر شیئر ہوجائے تو اسکی انکو بہت سخت سزائی دی جاتی ہے۔ اکثر اوقات ایسے کیسز میں مرد رشتہ دار خاتون یا لڑکی کو جان سے مار دیتے ہیں۔ رواں سال جنوری میں بھی ضلع چارسدہ میں ایک ایسا واقعہ پیش آیا تھا جب ایک لڑکی کی ویڈیو وائرل ہوئی تو اس کو والد نے جان سے ماردیا۔

چارسدہ میں 18 سالہ لڑکی کی ویڈیو وائرل ہوئی تو والد نے مار دیا

ضلع چارسدہ سے تعلق رکھنے والے صحافی محمد باسط خان نے اس حوالے سے بتایا کہ 18 سالہ لڑکی اسلام آباد میں ایک گھر میں کام کرتی تھی جہاں ایک لڑکے نے اسکی ویڈیو وائرل کی تو والد نے اس کو غیرت کے نام پر قتل کردیا۔ انہوں نے بتایا کہ پاکستان میں خواتین کو اکثر اوقات چھوٹی چھوٹی باتوں پر گھریلو تشدد کا نشانہ بنایا جاتا ہے اور کچھ کیسز میں قتل بھی کردیا جاتا ہے۔

محمد باسط خان نے کہا کہ خیبرپختونخوا میں خواتین کو کئی ایک پابندیوں کا سامنا ہے اور یہ پابندیاں انکے والد، بھائی اور باقی گھر کے مرد لگاتے ہیں جس کی وجہ سے ان میں موجود صلاحیتیں کبھی سامنے نہیں آتی۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ اس جدید دور میں بھی جب ایک عورت گھر سے کام کے لیے نکلتی ہیں تو انکے کام کو معیوب سمجھا جاتا ہے اور لوگ طرح طرح کی باتیں بناتے ہیں جس کی وجہ سے لوگوں کی بھی یہی سوچ ہے کہ خواتین گھر میں بیٹھ کر برتن دھوئیں، کھانا بنائیں اور بچے پالیں۔

محمد باسط خان کے مطابق پاکستان میں اس وقت انیس کروڑ موبائل صارفین موجود ہیں جن میں 5 کروڑ تعداد خواتین کی ہے جبکہ باقی مرد ہیں۔ انٹرنیٹ استعمال کرنے والی خواتین کی تعداد 2 کروڑ ہے جبکہ باقی خواتین انٹرنیٹ استعمال نہیں کرتیں۔ محمد باسط نے بتایا کہ خواتین کو اب سوشل میڈیا پر بھی تنگ کیا جاتا ہے، پہلے تو صرف گلی کوچوں میں انکے پیچھے لوگ آواز کستے تھے لیکن اب تو سوشل میڈیا پر بھی انکو نہیں چھوڑا جاتا۔ اگر کوئی خاتون آن لائن کاروبار کرتی ہیں تو ان کو لوگ آرڈر دے دیتے ہیں اور بعد میں انکار کردیتے ہیں کہ ہم نے یہ چیز نہیں لینی۔ بعض لوگ خواتین کو غیر اخلاقی میسجز بھی بھیجتے ہیں جس کی وجہ سے خواتین خود بھی تنگ آکر سوشل میڈیا کا استعمال کرنا چھوڑ دیتی ہیں۔

خواتین آن لائن ہراسمنٹ کے حوالے سے گھر میں بتا نہیں پاتی

خواتین کا مسئلہ یہ بھی ہے کہ انکو جب آن لائن طور پر ہراساں کیا جاتا ہے تو وہ گھر والوں کو بھی نہیں بتا پاتی کیونکہ یہاں جب خواتین اس حوالے سے بات کرتی ہیں تو ان پر پابندیاں لگائی جاتی ہیں اور یوں بہت ساری خواتین چپ سادھ لیتی ہیں۔

محمد باسط خان نے کہا کہ ہماری خواتین میں بہت ٹیلنٹ موجود ہے جو بہت آگے جاسکتی ہیں لیکن بدقسمتی سے ہمارا معاشرہ اور ہمارا کلچر انکے آڑے آجاتا ہے۔ ایک خاتون کا ذکر کرتے ہوئے انہوں نے کہا کہ ایک خاتون آن لائن بزنس کرتی ہیں، بہت ٹیلنٹڈ ہیں لیکن ان کو گھر والوں نے اس شرط پر اس کی اجازت دی ہے کہ کسٹمر سے وہ بات نہیں کریں گی بلکہ اس کا بھائی یا کوئی اور مرد کرے گا تو اس سے اندازہ لگایا جاسکتا ہے کہ ہم نے خواتین کو کتنا خودمختار بنایا ہے۔ وہ خاتون جو ایک کام میں مہارت رکھتی ہیں کسٹمر کو اچھے سے ڈیل کرسکتی ہیں اور کاروبار کو کامیاب بناسکتی ہیں وہ اس کا بھائی یا کوئی اور نہیں کرسکتا لیکن مسئلہ پھر وہی آجاتا ہے کلچر کا۔

محمد باسط خان نے مزید بتایا کہ کچھ خواتین کو سائبر کرائمز کے حوالے سے قانونی راستوں کا بھی پتہ ہوتا ہے لیکن وہ اول تو کیس نہیں کرتی یا اگر کرتی بھی ہیں تو معاشرتی دباؤ اور گھر والوں کی عزت کی خاطر واپس لے لیتی ہیں۔

کوہستان ویڈیو سکینڈل

چارسدہ کا واقعہ اپنی نوعیت کا پہلا واقعہ نہیں ہے۔ اس سے قبل بھی کئی خواتین اور لڑکیوں کو سوشل میڈیا ویڈیوز کی وجہ سے مسائل کا سامنا کرنا پڑا ہے۔

دو ہزار بارہ میں ضلع کوہستان کے علاقے پالس میں ہونے والی ایک شادی کی ویڈیو وائرل ہوئی تھی جس میں پانچ لڑکیوں کی تالیوں کی تھاپ پر دو لڑکے رقص کررہے تھے۔ بعد ازاں رپورٹس سامنے آئی تھی کہ ویڈیو میں نظر آنے والی پانچوں لڑکیوں کو قتل کردیا گیا ہے۔

اس کے علاوہ رپورٹس کے مطابق دو ہزار چودہ میں بھی لوئر دیر کے علاقے جندول میں بھائی نے اپنی 13 سالہ بہن کواس لیے قتل کردیا تھا کیونکہ وہ موبائل استعمال کرتی تھی اور بھائی کو شک تھا کہ اس کی بہن مردوں سے بات کرتی ہیں۔

پاکستان ٹیلی کمیونکیشن اتھارٹی کے مطابق چار کروڑ ساٹھ لاکھ سوشل میڈیا صارفین میں 78 فیصد مردوں کے مقابلے میں خواتین کی شرح صرف 22 فیصد ہے۔

پاکستان میں ڈیجیٹل گیپ بہت زیادہ ہے

گورنمنٹ کامرس کالج پشاور کی اسسٹنٹ پروفیسر عروج نثار کہتی ہیں کہ آج کا دور جدید ٹیکنالوجی کا ہے اور وہی قومیں ترقی کی راہ پر گامزن ہوسکتی ہیں جو اس ٹیکنالوجی کا صحیح استعمال کریں گی۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ پاکستان میں ڈیجیٹل گیپ بہت زیادہ ہے بہت کم لوگ ہیں جو ڈیجیٹل ٹیکنالوجی سے استفادہ حاصل کررہے ہیں۔

عروج نثار نے کہا کہ زیادہ تر لوگوں کی نہ تو ڈیجیٹل ٹیکنالوجی تک رسائی ہے، نہ ہی انکو اس کا استعمال آتا ہے اور نہ انکو اس کے استعمال کی اجازت ہے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ پاکستان میں خواتین ڈیجیٹل ٹیکنالوجی سے بہت دور ہیں جس کی بہت ساری وجوہات ہیں۔ ان وجوہات میں ایک یہ بھی ہے کہ اگر خواتین کو ٹیکنالوجی تک رسائی دی جائے گی تو وہ اپنے حقوق سے باخبر ہوجائیں گی اور اپنے فیصلے خود کرنے لگ جائیں گی جبکہ معاشرہ اس چیز سے ڈرتا ہے۔

خیبرپختوںخوا اور قبائلی اضلاع کی خواتین کی ڈیجیٹل ٹیکنالوجی تک رسائی کے حوالے سے عروج نثار نے بتایا کہ ہماری خواتین اس سے کوسوں دور ہیں۔ قبائلی اضلاع میں تو مرد بھی سوشل میڈیا اور ان چیزوں سے دور ہیں لیکن خواتین کے لیے تو وہاں سوشل میڈیا اور ڈیجیٹل ٹیکنالوجی کا تصور بھی نہیں ہے۔ قبائلی اضلاع میں خواتین کے پاس موبائل فونز نہیں ہوتے انکے پاس سادہ فونز ہوتے ہیں جو صرف ضرورت کے لیے ہوتے ہیں انکو سمارٹ فونز رکھنے کی اجازت نہیں ہوتی۔

رائٹ ٹو انفارمیشن بنیادی حقوق میں سے ایک ہے

عروج نثار نے بتایا کہ ہمارے صوبے میں لڑکیوں کے لیے سمارٹ فونز رکھنا معیوب سمجھا جاتا ہے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ ہر وہ چیز جس سے خواتین معاشی یا سماجی طور پر خودمختار ہوتی ہیں وہ انکے لیے معیوب تصور کی جاتی ہیں۔

عروج نثار نے کہا کہ رائٹ ٹو انفارمیشن بنیادی حقوق میں سے ایک ہے اور ٹیکنالوجی کے ذریعے ہی کوئی انسان ہرقسم کی معلومات حاصل کرسکتا ہے لیکن یہاں خواتین اس بنیادی حق سے محروم ہیں۔ عروج نثار کے مطابق جب تک ہم آدھی آبادی یعنی خواتین کو بنیادی حقوق نہیں دیں گے، جدید ٹیکنالوجی تک رسائی نہیں دیں گے تب تک ہم ایک کامیاب قوم نہیں بن سکتے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ خواتین کو ڈیجیٹل ٹیکنالوجی تک نہ صرف رسائی دینے کی ضرورت ہے بلکہ انکو اس سلسلے میں ٹریننگز بھی دینی چاہیئے تاکہ وہ اس کا مثبت استعمال کرکے نہ صرف خود معاشی طور پر خودمختار ہو بلکہ ملک و قوم کی ترقی میں بھی اپنا کردار ادا کرسکیں۔

کچھ خواتین خود بھی سوشل میڈیا پرگمنام رہنا چاہتی ہیں

مردان سے تعلق رکھنے والے افتخارخان نے بتایا کہ سوشل میڈیا کا منفی اور مثبت دونوں طریقوں سے استعمال ہورہا ہے اور بدقسمتی سے ہمارے معاشرے میں اس کا منفی استعمال زیادہ ہے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ یہ بات ٹھیک ہے کہ زیادہ تر گھرانوں میں خواتین کو سوشل میڈیا استعمال کرنے کی اجازت نہیں دی جاتی لیکن دوسری طرف کچھ خواتین خود بھی سوشل میڈیا پر اپنی شناخت چھپانا چاہتی ہیں اور فیس بک پر اکثر خواتین تبدیل نام کے ساتھ آئی ڈی بنادیتی ہیں۔ خواتین اس کو استعمال کرنا چاہتی ہیں، مختلف گانوں، ڈراموں اور باقی پوسٹوں کو شیئر اور لائیک تو کرتی ہیں لیکن وہ چاہتی ہیں کہ جس کمیونٹی میں وہ رہ رہی ہیں وہ انکے حوالے سے زیادہ معلومات نہ رکھیں کہ وہ کیا شیئر کرتی ہیں یا کیا پسند کرتی ہیں کیونکہ انکو معاشرے کے لوگوں کی وجہ سے مشکلات کا سامنا کرنا پڑسکتا ہے۔

افتخارخان نے کہا کہ سوشل میڈیا رابطوں کا سب سے تیز اور آسان ذریعہ ہے اور ہمارے معاشرے کے مرد نہیں چاہتے کہ انکی خواتین کسی کے ساتھ رابطے میں رہیں اس لیے وہ سوشل میڈیا کا استعمال کریں۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ سوشل میڈیا کے ذریعے ہر انسان چاہے وہ مرد ہو یا عورت معلومات تک رسائی حاصل کرسکتا ہے۔ اگر خواتین کو سوشل میڈیا اور ڈیجیٹل ٹیکنالوجی تک رسائی نہیں دی جائے گی تو وہ نہ تو مثبت طریقے سے سوچ سکتی ہیں اور نہ ہی وہ کوئی کاروبار شروع کرسکتی ہیں۔

December 7, 2023 - Comments Off on تشدد صرف مار پیٹ نہیں، گیس لائٹنگ یا ذہنی تشدد کو تشدد کیوں نہیں سمجھا جاتا؟

تشدد صرف مار پیٹ نہیں، گیس لائٹنگ یا ذہنی تشدد کو تشدد کیوں نہیں سمجھا جاتا؟

ماریہ انجم

تمہیں دیکھ کر لگ رہا ہے جیسے تمہیں کسی نے تشدد کا نشانہ بنایا ہے۔’

‘نہیں بابا اس نے مجھے ہاتھ تک نہیں لگایا ‘

تشدد صرف مار پیٹ نہیں ہوتی   ‘

  پاکستان کے نجی ٹی وی پر  نشر ہونے والے ڈرامے کا یہ کلپ ٹک ٹاک اور فیس بک  پر وائرل ہے جہاں ایک  شادی شدہ بیٹی اپنے باپ سے یہ گفتگو کر رہی ہے۔ باپ نے بیٹی کی حالت کو دیکھتے ہوئے اندازہ لگایا کہ اس کا شوہر اس کو تشدد کانشانہ بناتا ہے لیکن بیٹی نے کہا کہ وہ اس کو ہاتھ بھی نہیں لگاتا۔

اس کلپ کے نیچے لکھے جانے والے کمنٹس کا اگر جائزہ لیا جائے تو نوے فیصد خواتین اس ڈرامے کے کلپ میں ہونے والی گفتگو کے متعلق کہتی ہوئی نظر آتی ہیں کہ ان کے ساتھ بھی یہی ہوچکا ہے جہاں ان کے شوہر ان کو ذہنی طور پر اتنا تشدد کا نشانہ بناتے ہیں کہ دیکھنے والے کو اندازہ ہوجاتا ہے کہ وہ کس ذہنی اذیت سے دوچار ہیں۔

پاکستان خواتین کے خلاف تشدد میں انسانی حقوق کی سب سے زیادہ خلاف ورزیاں کرنے والے ممالک میں سے ایک بن چکا ہے۔ جہاں تقریباً 32 فیصد خواتین کو مبینہ طور پر جسمانی تشدد کا سامنا کرنا پڑتا ہے جبکہ 40 فیصد شادی شدہ خواتین ازدواجی تشدد کا شکار ہیں جس میں ذہنی تشدد یا مینٹل ابیوز سر فہرست ہے۔

پاکستان میں جہاں خواتین کو جسمانی تشدد کا نشانہ بنانا ایک عام سی بات سجھا جاتا ہے وہیں معاشرہ اب صنفی بنیادوں پر تشدد کا اتنا عادی ہوچکا ہے کہ اب کیوں؟ یا کیسے؟ کے بجائے یہ پوچھا جاتا ہے کہ عورت نے ایسا کیا کردیا تھا؟

پاکستان میں جہاں خواتین جسمانی تشدد پر بھی صبر کر جا تی ہیں وہاں ذہنی تشدد یا گیس لائٹنگ کے حوالے سے ان کے پاس آگاہی نہ ہونے کے برابر ہے۔ خواتین کے ذہنی امراض کے حوالے سے کام کرنے والی ڈاکٹر ثمینہ منظور کا کہنا ہے کہ ان کے پاس اسی فیصد شادی شدہ  خواتین ڈیپریشن کی شکایات لے کر آتی ہیں اور ان میں سے نوے فیصد خواتین ازداواجی و ذہنی تشدد کا شکار ہوتی ہیں لیکن ان کو خود اس بات کا علم نہیں ہوتا۔

ڈاکٹر ثمینہ منظور کا کہنا ہے کہ ہم تشدد کو اکثر صرف جسمانی  سمجھتے ہیں جہاں ہم نظر آنے والے زخموں ، نیل اور نشانات سے اس کا ایک خاکہ بناتے ہیں لیکن ذہنی تشدد اس سے زیادہ خطرناک ثابت ہوسکتا ہے جہاں آپ کہ پاس دکھانے کے لیے کوئی زخم نہیں ہوتا۔ یہی وجہ ہے کہ ذہنی تشدد کو نظر انداز کرنا آسان ہے۔ ذہنی تشدد میں زبانی بد سلوکی ، شک اور بلاوجہ نظر انداز کرنا جس میں آپ کو اپنا آپ غلط لگے شامل ہے۔ 

گیس لائٹنگ کیا ہے اور اس کی علامات کیا ہوسکتی ہیں؟    

گیس لائٹنگ ذہنی تشدد کی ایک قسم ہے جہاں تشدد کا شکار ہونے والے افراد میں جان بوجھ کر ان کی شخصیت اور خیالات کے حوالے سے شک پیدا کیا جاتا ہے۔ امیریکن سائیکلوجیکل ایسوسییشن کے مطابق کسی شخص کو اس قدر مینیوپلیٹ کر دینا کہ اس کو واقعات ، خیالات اور حتیٰ کہ اپنے  تجربات کے حوالے سے شک ہونے لگ جائے اور وہ اس بات کو مان لیں کہ ان کا پارٹنر جو کہ رہا ہے وہ بالکل ٹھیک ہے۔ گیس لائٹنگ کی شروعات جھوٹ سے ہوتی ہے جو کہ بار بار بولا جاتا ہے اور پکڑے جانے پر اس کو ماننے سے انکار کردیا جاتا ہے۔

حرا رمضان کا تعلق راولپنڈی کے ایک پوش علاقے سے ہے ، ان کی شادی تین سال تک چلی جس کے بعد انہوں نے خلع لے لی۔ حرا رمضان کا کہنا ہے کہ شروع میں مجھے بالکل محسوس نہیں ہوا کہ میں تشدد کا شکار ہورہی ہوں کیونکہ میرے سابق شوہر میرے ساتھ بہت اچھا رویہ رکھ کر مجھ سے وہ باتیں منواتے تھے جو شاید میں اگر خود سے فیصلہ لے سکتی تو کبھی نہ کرتی۔

حرا رمضان کا کہنا ہے کہ وہ بدترین گیس لائٹنگ کا شکار ہوگئی تھیں جہاں ان کے شوہر ان کو بار بار یہ محسوس کرواتے تھے کہ وہ ان سے کم تر ہیں۔ وہ اکثر ان کو کہتے تھے کہ تمہارا یہ لیول نہیں ہے، انہوں نے یہ بات اتنی دفعہ بولی کہ آخر کار انہیں بھی یہ محسوس ہونے لگا کہ شاید واقعی ہی وہ ان کو ڈیزرو نہیں کرتی، وہ اس گھر میں رہنے کے قابل نہیں ہیں اور وہ ان سے بہت کم تر ہیں۔

حرا رمضان کا کہنا ہے کہ میرے لیے یہ قبول کرنا بہت مشکل تھا کہ میرا پارٹنر مجھے ذہنی تشدد کا نشانہ بنا رہا ہے کیونکہ اس وقت مجھے سب صحیح لگ رہا تھا ، میں احساس کمتری کا شکار ہو چکی تھی اس لیے وہ جو بھی کہتے یا کرتے تھے مجھے وہ سب بہت ٹھیک لگتا تھا۔

حرا رمضان کا کہنا ہے کہ وہ ایک پڑھے لکھے گھرانے سے تعلق رکھتی ہیں یہی وجہ ہے کہ ان کے خاندان نے اس ذہنی تشدد کو ایک سنگین مسئلہ سمجھتے ہوئے ان کا بہت ساتھ دیا اور وہ اس ٹاکسک ازدواجی زندگی سے باہر نکلنے میں کامیاب ہوئیں۔

لیکن پاکستان میں ہر جگہ لوگوں کا ذہنی تشدد کے حوالے سے رد عمل ایک جیسا نہیں ہے کیونکہ پسماندہ علاقوں سے تعلق رکھنے والی خواتین کے لیے ایسے ازدواجی تعلقات سے نکلنا انتہائی مشکل ہے، جہاں اگر آپ کا شوہر مار پیٹ نہیں کرتا تو عورت کو صبر کرنا چاہیے کیونکہ تین چار باتیں سن لینے سے اگر گھر بچ سکتا ہے تو گھر کو بچانا ضروری ہے۔

خیبر پختونخوا کے ایک انتہائی پسماندہ علاقے سے تعلق رکھنے والی خاتون انعم خان کا کہنا ہے کہ ان  شوہر اس قدر واقعات کو جھوٹا بنا کر گھر والوں کے سامنے پیش کرتے ہیں کہ اکثر ان کو یہ لگتا ہے کہ واقعی وہ جو کہ رہے ہیں وہ ٹھیک ہے اور میں بہت بری انسان ہوں جو ان کے قابل نہیں ہے ، یہی وجہ ہے کہ ان کو خود سے نفرت ہونے لگ گئی ہے۔

انعم کا کہنا ہے کہ ان کے شوہر کی زبانی بد سلوکی کبھی کبھی اتنی بڑھ جاتی ہے کہ ان کو لگتا ہے کہ وہ ایک انتہائی ناکارہ انسان ہیں اور ان کی کوئی عزت نفس نہیں ہے۔

انعم خان کہتی ہیں کہ وہ دو دفعہ اپنے شوہر کے رویے کی وجہ سے گھر چھوڑ کر گئی ہیں لیکن ان کے والدین کہتے ہیں کہ یہ کوئی وجہ نہیں ہے ، دنیا کی ساری خواتین یہ سب برداشت کرتی ہیں، انعم کہتی ہیں کہ اگر ان کے شوہر مار پیٹ کرتے تو شاید وہ زخموں کے نشان اپنے والدین کو دکھا کر اس شادی کو ختم کرسکتیں۔

گیس لائٹنگ یا ذہنی تشدد کا شکار خواتین کیسا محسوس کرتی ہیں ؟

گیس لائٹنگ یا ذہنی تشدد کی شکار خواتین کے حوالے سے کلینکل سائیکالوجسٹ سعدیہ ناظر کا کہنا ہے کہ ان کے پاس آنے والی خواتین انتہائی سہمی ہوئی ہوتی ہیں،خوف ، بے چینی ، اعتماد کی کمی ، اور ذہنی دباؤ کا شکار ہوتی ہیں یہی وجہ ہے کہ وہ اکثر یہ شکایت کرتی ہیں کہ ان کو سمجھ نہیں آتی اور وہ اپنے بچوں کو بلاوجہ جسمانی تشدد کا نشانہ بناتی ہیں۔

سعدیہ ناظر کا کہنا ہے کہ ایسی خواتین صرف ایک ہی بات پر زور دیتی ہیں کہ وہ بہت کوشش کرتی ہیں کہ سب کو خوش رکھ سکیں لیکن ان سے کوئی خوش نہیں ہوتا۔

سعدیہ ناظر کہتی ہیں کہ گیس لائٹنگ یا ذہنی تشدد کی شکار خواتین میں سب سے عام علامات یہ ہیں کہ وہ خود کا دھیان نہیں رکھتیں ، نہ وہ اچھے کپڑے پہن پاتی ہیں نہ میک اپ کرتی ہیں۔ ایسی خواتین اپنے شوہر کو خوش رکھنے کے لیے ہر ممکن کوشش کرتی ہیں لیکن ان کا کہنا ہے کہ وہ پھر بھی خوش نہیں رہتے، ان کی اپنی کوئی پسند ناپسند نہیں رہتی اور ان کو یہ لگتا ہے کہ وہ اس قابل نہیں ہیں کہ اپنے لیے یا گھر کے لیے کوئی فیصلہ لے سکیں۔

گیس لائٹنگ کی شکار خواتین کو ان کے پارٹنر بار بار اپنے رویے سے یہ بتاتے ہیں کہ وہ اتنی کم تر ہیں کہ ان کی اپنی کوئی حیثیت نہیں ہے۔ ایسی خواتین کو لگتا ہے کہ اگر ان کے شوہر ان کو اپنے گھر میں رکھ رہے ہیں یا خرچہ اٹھا رہے ہیں تو یہ ان کا احسان ہیں ورنہ وہ اس قابل نہیں ہیں۔

سعدیہ ناظر کا کہنا ہے کہ ایک ڈاکٹر ہونے کی حیثیت سے جب ہم ایسی خواتین کو بتاتے ہیں کہ آپ ذہنی تشدد کا شکار ہیں تو پہلے تو وہ ماننے کو تیار ہی نہیں ہوتیں، ان کو یہ قبول کرنے میں بہت وقت لگتا ہے۔ ایسی خواتین کو اس فیز سے نکالنے کے لیے ہم کوشش کرتے ہیں کہ ان کی خود اعتمادی اور عزت نفس کو بحال کیا جائے۔

گیس لائٹنگ یا ذہنی تشدد کی شکار خواتین ایسے ازدواجی تعلقات میں احساس کمتری کا شکار ہوتی ہیں یہی وجہ ہے کہ ان کو مینیوپلیٹ کرنا یا اپنی باتیں منوانا بہت آسان ہوتا ہے۔

خواتین میں گیس لائٹنگ یا ذہنی تشدد کے حوالے سے آگاہی نہ ہونے کے برابر ہے یہی وجہ ہے کہ جب ان کے پارٹنر شروع شروع میں ان کے ساتھ انتہائی اچھا رویہ اپناتے ہیں اور اس کے بعد ان سے اپنی باتیں منواتے ہیں تو وہ اس کو پیار کرنا یا خیال رکھنا تصور کرتی ہیں اور آہستہ آہستہ ان کی اپنی پسند نا پسند ختم ہوجاتی ہے اورحتی کہ ان کی اپنی شخصیت ختم ہو جاتی ہے۔

گیس لائٹنگ یا ذہنی تشدد کو تشدد کیوں نہیں سمجھا جاتا؟

ذہنی تشدد کا کوئی ظاہری زخم یا نشان نہیں ہوتا یہی وجہ ہے کہ اس کو ثابت کرنا انتہائی مشکل ہے۔ سعدیہ ناظر کے مطابق پچانوے فیصد خواتین جو ذہنی تشدد کا شکار ہوتی ہیں ان کو خود ہی معلوم نہیں  ہوتا کہ وہ ذہنی تشدد کا شکار ہیں تو وہ کیسے کسی سے مدد مانگ سکتی ہیں یہی وجہ ہے کہ یہ ایک زیادہ سنگین مسئلہ ہے۔

گیس لائٹنگ کی شکار خواتین ہر وقت ایک الجھن کا شکار ہوتی ہیں یہی وجہ ہے کہ وہ کوئی فیصلہ نہیں لے پاتیں، ایسے ریلیشن شپ سے اس وقت باہر نکلنا بہت مشکل ہوجاتا ہے جب آپ کے ارد گرد لوگ آپ کو صبر کرنے کی تلقین کرتے رہیں۔ معاشرے میں آگاہی نہ ہونے کے باعث ایسی خواتین  کو چپ رہنے ، صبر کرنے اور بچوں کی خاطر گھر بسانے کے مشورے دیے جاتے ہیں۔

ذہنی تشدد ایک انسان کی پوری شخصیت کو تبدیل کردیتا ہے، ایسی خواتین آہستہ آہستہ اپنی عزت نفس کو پاوں تلے روندتے ہوئے اپنے پارٹنر کی خواہشات ، پسند نا پسند کو ترجیح دیتی ہیں۔ ذہنی تشدد یا گیس لائٹنگ کے حوالے سے معاشرے میں آگاہی نہیں ہے یہی وجہ ہے کہ ذہنی تشدد کو ریاستی سطح پر تشدد تسلیم کرنے اور اس کےحوالے سے بھی قانون سازی کی ضرورت ہے، حکومتی اداروں کی جانب سے صنفی بنیادوں پر تشدد کے حوالے سے کی جانے والی آگاہی مہم میں ذہنی تشدد کو شامل کرنا وقت کی اہم ضرورت ہے۔