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October 21, 2020 - Comments Off on September 2020: Digital 50.50, third edition released

September 2020: Digital 50.50, third edition released

Online Campaigns and Initiatives

Digital 50.50 Third Edition

digital 50.50Third Edition of DRF’s feminist e-magazine was launched in September. It covered articles on how individuals and organisations have been navigating the digital spaces during the global pandemic. A very interesting article discussed the transition of civil society organisations and people from other professions to working in the digital. Another article used Taylor Swift’s songs from her new album, Folklore, to talk about dating apps during the lockdown period and is a must read. The magazine can be accessed here.

UN Women A to Z of Cyber Harassment

DRF with the support of UN Women conducted an awareness raising campaign on online violence through social media posts for three months which also included dissecting cyber harassment and its myths through A to Z of cyber harassment. The posts are available on DRF’s Facebook page and Twitter.

#NoHonourInKilling

While hearing a jail petition for leave to appeal in the case titled 'Muhammad Abbas vs The State', the Supreme Court of Pakistan made observations regarding honour killings in the country. DRF’s campaign ‘#NoHonourInKilling’ aims to shine a light on this and highlight some of the most powerful sections of the order.

honor killing

#PrivacyIsARight: A Digital Campaign for VPNs

DRF conducted an awareness raising campaign through social media on the right to privacy in Pakistan’s context. This included a week-long series of posts discussing encryption, VPNs and details of international treaties with privacy implications that Pakistan is signatory to, as well as a panel discussion titled ‘Understanding VPNs: A Deep Dive into Privacy in Pakistan’. This was cast live via DRF’s Facebook page and is available for viewing there.

#ActivismInPandemic

DRF has launched the #ActivismInPandemic campaign highlighting the important work human rights defenders and journalists have been doing during COVID19. The campaign aims to share experiences of journalists and HRDs during the pandemic and also highlight the importance of managing work and stress during these testing times.

DRF launched the Digital Rapid Fire Chat

DRF launched a new initiative, Digital RapidFire Chat, to discuss issues around online freedom of expression and press freedom in the country. The Digital RapidFire was based on the idea that with the lockdown and the digital space being loaded with talk shows, workshops and webinars, DRF wanted to create a space where panelists could discuss serious, and heavy-loaded issues in a fun, interactive way and through some 'burning questions' that also reduces the cognitive load of the audiences. The first Chat was scheduled for 11th September, for which the decided format could not be implemented as the Motorway rape incident happened so the topic was changed to “Ab Aur Nahin: Ending violence against women's bodies”. For the second Chat, we asked questions from our panelists on  “How feminists in Pakistan deal with online hate?”. A hamper from our team was sent to the panelist who answered more questions, and unmasked the truth behind these issues in a non-triggering and humorous way.

Policy initiatives

DRF part of coalition with International Media Foundation

DRF has joined the coalition with International Media Foundation which focuses on working on journalist safety online and offline. The coalition and DRF has been raising a voice and condemning against online harassment and attacks on journalists during COVID19.

The Adal Aur Sehat Project and DRF collaborate for a session on Cyber Crime Laws, Prevention and Remedies

 

DRF collaborates with the Adal Aur Sehat Project in a session focusing on Cyber Crime Laws, Prevention and Remedies for the masses. DRF’s Nighat Dad spoke to Adal aur Sehar on the topic and highlighted the legal remedies available to people to counter cyber crime in the country.

Helpline August Stats

Cyber Harassment Helpline received 309 complaints in the month of August. In comparison to the previous months during lockdown, this number has decreased. It shows that there was a spike in the cases of online violence especially blackmailing through non consensual use of information and images during lockdown which has now decreased a little. Another observed trend is of social engineering through which people are coerced into sharing their personal details like National Identity Card number, WhatsApp code, bank account details and, e-wallet details making them susceptible to hacking and financial fraud.

Statement on Shaheena Shaheen’s brutal murder

Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights issued a statement to strongly condemn the murder of Shaheena Shaheen and demands that there should be adequate follow-up by the state to ensure that the accused is prosecuted and a possible settlement does not impact the prosecution. The statement was signed by around 60 journalists and three women journalists’ coalitions. It can be accessed here.

Media Coverage

Step by Step Guide on How to Report Cyber Harassment in Pakistan

Technology Times covered the step by step guide to report cyber harassment in Pakistan. DRF’s Nighat Dad explained the forms of cyber harassment in online spaces and how to report them to law enforcement agencies.

Read the full article here:

New Controls on the Internet in Pakistan

DRF’s Nighat Dad Dad spoke to NayaDaur on New Controls on the Internet in Pakistan. Raza Rumi moderated the session and Nighat Dad highlighted the recent controls on the internet and how social media companies and the government need to be held accountable for these controls on the internet.

Watch the full discussion here:

Events and Sessions

#MediaFreedom

DRF’s Nighat Dad spoke with Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon on how important it is to strengthen free media and tackle intimidation of female journalists.

Data Privacy and Public Health – All Fair in Love and War?

DRF took part in a webinar in collaboration with the Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture (SIUT). The webinar sought to focus on the use of private health data during public health emergencies raises ethical concerns, especially in Pakistan where oversight and regulation of such processes is questionable. The webinar explored the following questions: 1) Do healthcare establishments (private and public) understand what is at stake when private health information is being shared/ monitored? 2) Does the public fully understand it? 3) Are public health officials and government departments cognisant of the consequences of these technologies?

Link to discussion: https://www.facebook.com/cbec.siut/videos/684879222129298.

Post COVID Futures: Can technology build architecture for democratic governance?'

DRF participated in a policy roundtable on the role of technologies in a post-Covid future on September 29th, exploring issues of access and the role technology plays in democratic governance. The roundtable included experts from the tech and media industry as well as members of civil society.

DRF takes part in the IAF seminar, “Making Magic Seminar 2020”

DRF team member, Arslan Athar, took part in an IAF Seminar, “Making Magic”, which was an intensive training about digital facilitation and online campaigns. The seminar was a week long, with participants from all over the world, and experts from the field of event and campaign management coming in to speak to the cohort.

DRF takes part in an online program organized by Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF)

The FNF organized a visiting program on "Propaganda, Automation and Digital Politics" which was conducted digitally from the 7th to 10th September 2020.

“Has The PTA Swiped Left On Love?”

DRF spoke to Atiya Abbas, who wrote for our feminist e-magazine, Digital 50.50, about her experiences speaking to people to Tinder for research. Following the ban on Tinder and other dating apps in Pakistan, we asked Atiya about the effects of the ban on Pakistani society and what Tinder really meant to a lot of people, who used it for networking, rather than just dating.

DRF Cyber Harassment Helpline Webinar Series

DRF’s Cyber Harassment Helpline conducted a series of webinars ‘Deconstructing Cyber Harassment’ with the support of UN women to discuss digital safety practices, legal remedies and psychological impact of online violence. Our DRF team of expert guest speakers each contributed their unique experiences and expertise; focusing on strategies for listeners to better protect themselves to reduce risk and vulnerability in the backdrop of increased harassment and violence offline and online.

Jinnah Institute Policy Roundtable Post COVID Fututes: Technology and Social Integration in South Asia

DRF participated in the Jinnah Institute Policy Roundtable on Post COVID Futures: Technology and Social Integration in South Asia. DRF’s Nighat Dad focused on how technology has enabled positive governance and participation in politics and also highlighted the integration of technology in South Asia.

Facts Not Filters - FPU

DRF is collaborating with Free Press Unlimited on a project  - Facts Not Filters - in which international students of Royal Dutch Arts Academy will be exploring the different geographical contexts, including Pakistan, in which journalists work. DRF’s Program Manager, Maryam Saeed, and two journalists from the Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights, Sabin Agha and Umaima Ahmed, explained the context of Pakistan and the challenges that women journalists face because of their profession and gender.

#KeepItOn Webinar

DRF participated in the webinar Fighting against Internet Shutdowns in 2020 through strategic advocacy. Nighat Dad of DRF spoke with a panel of experts about internet shutdowns in 2020 and how these shutdowns are becoming frequent. They highlighted how these shutdowns are unconstitutional and must be put to a stop.

Workplace Safety- Creating Safer and Inclusive Work Cultures

DRF participated in the Workplace Safety Creating Safer and Inclusive Work Cultures. Nighat Dad shed light on the workplace harassment act and highlighted that implementation of the law is important along with the importance of reform within the legislation.

Digital Detox and Self Care

An online training was conducted by Saba Sabir from DRF with female digital journalists from our Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights on digital detox and self-care. The training focused on identifying digital burnout and implementing strategies for well-being in the digital space. Through the training, DRF intended to empower journalists to create more mindful, meaningful, well-rounded lives both online and off while not letting their profession be affected.

 

Virginity Tests and Assessment of Victim’s Character in Rape and Sexual Assault Cases: Legal Perspectives

This panel discussion was arranged by the LUMS Law Alumni Association in collaboration with the LUMS Law Journal. Our team member moderated the group discussion. Video is available on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8AGwN5s9eA

Understanding VPNS #PrivacyIsARight

DRF conducted a session on Understanding VPNs on the 7th of September, 2020 with three esteemed panelists. We had Usama Khilji of Bolo Bhi, Hera Hussain, CEO of CHAYN Organization and Mubariz Siddiqi, General Counsel for Sarmayacar with Zainab Durrani (Project Manager, DRF) moderating the panel.

The discussion revolved around the workings of VPN, myths and lies associated with it, usage and its types, the call for registration of VPNs by PTA and the impact of regulating VPNs, from a human rights and business perspective.

Tackling Misinformation during times of COVID19

DRF conducted two sessions on Tackling Misinformation during times of COVID19 on the 23rd and 25th of September. The session was conducted with journalists and other relevant stakeholders where a much needed conversation took place around how misinformation has increased during the pandemic. The session was possible with the help and support of Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF).

Hamara Internet Online Safety of Young Adults Sessions

DRF conducted a series of sessions under the Hamara Internet program on Online Safety of Young Adults in Pakistan.The sessions took place with young adults in which different themes on online safety and violence were highlighted. The sessions were conducted by DRF’s youth ambassadors who discussed different themes like online harassment, data protection, privacy, cyber bullying, online safety and fake news in detail. The youth ambassadors were divided into two groups and a total of 8 sessions took place for the participants who were from across Pakistan. The sessions were possible with the help and support of Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF).

Training on Online Safety training with ASR

DRF conducted the three day residency training on Online Safety with team ASR focusing on how the organization should keep their data safe and how they should protect themselves online.

Online Session Cyber Security Fatima Jinnah University Session

DRF’s Nighat Dad spoke in an online session with Fatima Jinnah University on Cyber Security. She presented the DRF helpline as a resource to cyber harassment and also focused on keeping privacy settings strong on social media. The session was attended by 170 students from Fatima Jinnah University.

Online Safety Training with HRD’s in Sindh

 

 

DRF’s Nighat Dad conducted an Online Safety session with human rights defenders in Sindh highlighting the importance of privacy online and also introducing the cyber harassment helpline as a resource to counter violence online.

 

 

 

Lincoln’s Corner Session - Janat

On September 23, Jannat Fazal program manager cyber harassment helpline moderated a session on why i didn't report at Lincoln's corner sindh. The session focused on the reasons that prevent assault victims from coming forward with their complaints. It also focused on the systemic oppression  of the authorities that dissuades victims.

COVID19 Updates

Cyber Harassment Helpline

Cyber harassment helpline is now available 5 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm through its toll free number and social media platforms. Because of the observed increase in cyber harassment complaints during COVID 19 lockdown, DRF had made its cyber harassment helpline operational 24/7 for three months and now that the lockdown is lifted and a decrease in complaints has been observed, the helpline is back to functioning as per usual.

Contact the helpline on 080039393 or email us on [email protected] between 9 am to 5 pm (monday - friday). You can also reach out to us on our social media channels.

Ab Aur Nahin

In times of COVID19 domestic abuse is at an all time high where victims do not have anywhere to go. Ab Aur Nahin is a confidential legal and counselor support service specifically designed for victims of harassment and abuse.

www.abaurnahin.pk

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

September 17, 2020 - Comments Off on August 2020: DRF launches the Digital Detox Campaign

August 2020: DRF launches the Digital Detox Campaign

Online Campaigns and Initiatives

#HamaraInternet #MehfoozInternet

Under the Cyber Harassment Helpline advocacy campaigns, a comic strip with impactful graphics was released online which focused on victim blaming of cyber harassment. The comic strip highlighted how victim blaming decreases the likelihood that survivors will share their traumatic experience and seek support. It called on the audiences to take action against this attitude and shift the blame from the victim to the perpetrator.

In order to combat cyber bullying, which ruins people’s online experiences, we need to understand why people do this so that we are able to design our strategies accordingly. DRF released an infographic to shed light on some of these reasons.

DRF also launched another campaign called 'A to Z of Cyber Harassment', in which we unpack everything that makes up cyber harassment and what we need to know to protect ourselves online.

DRF’s Digital Detox Campaign

As part of DRF’s ongoing advocacy around raising awareness on cyber harassment, it shared and encouraged its audience online to participate in Bingos on various digital rights issues. One of the bingos, ‘how many of these steps do you take for your digital detox?’ had the highest number of interactions and retweets. It was also well-received on Instagram with many followers self-reflecting and pledging to do a better digital detox for their well-being. Another bingo focused on what entails cyber bullying behavior as a first step to understand what people need to do to make online spaces safe for all.

       

#ActivismInPandemic

     

DRF has launched the #ActivismInPandemic campaign highlighting the important work human rights defenders and journalists have been doing during COVID19. The campaign aims to share experiences of journalists and HRDs during the pandemic and also highlight the importance of managing work and stress during these testing times.

Policy initiatives

Cyber Harassment Helpline July Statistics

Cyber Harassment Helpline received 697 complaints in the month of July. In comparison to the previous months prior lockdown , this is a huge number. It shows a spike in the cases of online violence especially blackmailing through non consensual use of information and images. Another observed trend is of social engineering through which people are coerced into sharing their personal details like National Identity Card number, WhatsApp code, bank account details and, e-wallet details making them susceptible to hacking and financial fraud.

   

Media Coverage

Pakistani journalists stand up against online harassment

Ramsha Jahangir, our member of the Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights highlighted how online spaces have been weaponized recently. In DRF’s study ‘Fostering Open Spaces in Pakistan’ it was found that women in journalism and activism were subjected to online harassment and abuse.

Read the full article here around harassment that women journalists have been facing:
https://ipi.media/pakistani-journalists-stand-up-against-online-harassment/

Pakistan tells Youtube to block ‘objectionable’ content’

DRF’s Nighat Dad shared her thoughts around Pakistan’s statement to Youtube regarding objectionable content on the platforms.

Read the full article here:
https://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-tells-youtube-block-objectionable-102002066.html

DRF on Coffee Table with Mina Malik Hussain on domestic violence

29 August 2020: A discussion on domestic violence

DRF’s Dania Mukhtar participated on Indus News on the show Coffee Table with Mina Malik Hussain with Kanwal Ahmed (Founder of Soul Sisters) around domestic violence. Dania highlighted the cases the cyber harassment helpline has received around domestic violence and also mentioned Ab Aur Nahin as a resource to victims of domestic violence.

Link to show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofKQe-cOe0g&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0fJAYu4G3YSGr9eBTZja5QhBfodwg-l8XLq0LfGF4F6bnm6CS4KsSk42g

Events and Sessions

DRF on International Youth Day on webinar on Breaking Barriers for Meaningful Youth Engagement

DRF’s Nighat Dad shared her thoughts on International Youth Day on ‘Breaking Barriers for Meaningful Youth Engagement’. Nighat highlighted on the digital dividend to engage youth across the country and globally. She also highlighted the struggle it takes for women to reclaim spaces.

DRF on NHRF’s discussion on protection of HRDs and their work

DRF participated in a discussion hosted by the Norwegian Human Rights Fund (NHRF) around protection of HRDs and their work. Nighat Dad participated in the discussion and shed light on the online safety trainings the organization has conducted due to NHRF’s help and support.

DRF at Right To Information: Need, Use and Status on 14th August

DRF participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Senior Journalists Forum on ‘Right to Information: Need, Use and Status’. The webinar took place on 14th August and highlighted the importance of right to information and its current use and status within the country.

DRF at “Digital Pakistan – The Future of Politics: Lessons and Opportunities” on 21st August

DRF participated in the webinar ‘Digital Pakistan- The Future of Politics: Lessons and Opportunities’ on 21st August. The session was organized by the Senior Journalists Forum and focused on the use of digital technologies for politics and mobilization.

DRF hosted a tweetchat on ‘How Activism has changed post COVID19’

DRF organized a tweetchat on 26th August 2020, around how activism has changed post COVID19. The participants in the tweetchat were Nighat Dad (lawyer, human rights activist and Facebook oversight board member), Imaan Mazari (lawyer and human rights activist), Moneeza Ahmed (feminist, humanistic therapist and an activist focusing on community development) and Sabin Muzaffar (founder and executive director of Ananke- a digital platform empowering women through awareness, advocacy and education). The tweetchat was an extension of DRF’s online campaign on #ActivismInPandemic and highlighted the key issues activists have been facing during COVID19 and what social media companies can do in order to protect them.

DRF at ‘Implementing SDG 16.10.1 (Protection of Women Journalist and Media Workers) for ensuring gender response media environment in Pakistan on 28th August

DRF participated in the Sustainable Development Goal 16.10.1 which focused on  protection of women journalists and media workers on the 28th of August. DRF’s Nighat Dad spoke about the threats female journalists are facing in the cyber world and also highlighted the importance of a gender responsive media environment in the session.

DRF in Provincial Consultation on Gender Bases Violence- Strengthening the Response

DRF participated in an ‘Provincial Consultation on Gender Based Violence – Strengthening the Response’ under the Awaz II program organized by Peace & Justice Network (PJN) held on 26 August 2020. The purpose of the consultation was to identify specific advocacy points to prevent and address gender-based violence in Punjab. In addition to assessing the legislative and institutional frameworks, the consultation also examined how prevalent social norms can be changed by both improving women’s access to legal processes regarding the registration and prosecution of crimes as well as addressing public shame. The deliberations of the consultation would be used to inform the advocacy agenda for the Aawaz Provincial Forum.

Digital Safety Conference by LACAS and DRF

August 7  - August 8

DRF and LACAS, in collaboration, hosted the "Digital Safety Conference"  to create a better understanding of how the digital world works and its impact on students. Moreover, bring students, teachers and parents on the same page of how to deal with the pressing issues related to the digital world. The event was held virtually and included representatives from a social media company, legal specialists, mental health counselors and student speakers. The two panels in the conference included “Cyberbullying, its Impact and being a Responsible Netizens” and “Parenting in the age of the internet”.

Facebook Live Session: Will banning the internet fix the mental health pandemic?

Our mental health expert, Saba Sabir, conducted an informative live session on the link between online spaces and mental health. We explored the possibility that while online spaces can result in tangible mental health harms, it is also a space for connection and expression particularly at a time where we are socially distancing. The session can be accessed here.

DRF conducted a session with Dastak on Online Safety

DRF conducted a semi-advanced online safety session with the team members of Dastak Charitable Organization on the 7th of August, 2020.

The session covered apps and tools that can be used to increase safety in the digital space.

DRF organized a session with AWAM on Online Safety

DRF organized a second session with the Faislabad-based organization AWAM as a part of its interaction with civil society organizations on the 25th of August, 2020.

The session covered apps and tools that can be used to increase safety in the digital space.

DRF’s session with WISE on Cyber Harassment and Online Safety

DRF collaborated with WISE on the 7th of August and hosted a session around the internet and online safety. The session was attended by female students, teachers and community activists. The session focused on cyber harassment and introduced the cyber harassment helpline as a resource to the participants along with other intitiaves like Ab aur nahin (providing legal pro bono service to domestic abuse and harassment victims)  and IWF portal (to report child sexual abuse online).

Privacy Laws in Pakistan

Zainab Durrani from DRF participated in a session of PCL Talks hosted by Pakistan College of Law and LEAP Pakistan that covered privacy laws in Pakistan. The discussion centered around privacy as a concept in general, as a right and now a digital necessity. Zainab discussed the cultural connotations of privacy and DRF’s position on the current Personal Data Protection Bill.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=691556761717106&ref=watch_permalink

Gender sensitization session with journalists

DRF conducted a two-day online workshop on 9th-10th August 2020 on gender-sensitive reporting for women journalists and content creators. The workshop was attended by 14 participants. It also had a dedicated session on covering covid-19 from a gender-sensitive perspective. The training included a practical component after completion that required all participants to submit a short story covered from a gender-sensitive perspective.

Data Privacy in Asia

Our Project Manager Zainab Durrani participated in a tweet chat organized by Undatify Me that looked into the current privacy laws and regulations in Asia. The chat covered any issues with these laws, campaigns and movements that converged on the overall theme of privacy and the existing resources for people who want to learn more about these themes and the need for more such resources and reliable literature to be developed around it.

DRF with the support of FNF hosted two sessions of the Hamara Internet Online Safety Program

DRF hosted two sessions with the support of FNF with young adults in the Hamara Internet Online Safety Program. The sessions were conducted by DRF’s five youth ambassadors who focused on privacy and data protection of young adults in the country. The youth ambassadors were divided into teams and Team A conducted the session on 21st August with their group whereas Team B conducted their session on 22nd August with their respective group.

Sessions with Anew and FNF

Our partner FNF provided our team members with the wonderful opportunity to attend a 4-part training course with the team at Anew where they learnt about and discussed meaningful and impactful engagement, especially given the myriad of restrictions with conducting sessions and interacting with stakeholders and audience. These sessions took place in the last two weeks of August and were just the need of the hour for our trainers.

COVID19 Updates

Cyber Harassment Helpline

Because of the observed increase in cyber harassment complaints during COVID 19 lockdown,  DRF made its cyber harassment helpline operational 24/7 for three months. The cyber harassment helpline is offering the services free of cost for anyone who calls in or reaches out to us via social media or email. These include legal aid, the digital help desk, and mental health counseling. During these three months, our toll-free number is  accessible every day of the week, from 9 AM to 5 PM, our mental health counselors are working from 10 AM to 9 PM each day as well. Our mental health counselors are trained professionals providing free of cost counseling to women and marginalized communities. During all other hours of the day, our team is attending to complaints and queries through online platforms.

Contact the helpline on 080039393 or email us on [email protected]. You can also reach out to us on our social media channels.

Ab Aur Nahin

In times of COVID19 domestic abuse is at an all-time high where victims do not have anywhere to go. Ab Aur Nahin is a confidential legal and counselor support service specifically designed for victims of harassment and abuse.

www.abaurnahin.pk

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 amterial in three different languaged- English, Urdu and Pashto. The reports will then be assessed by trained IWF analysts in the UK.

www.report.iwf.org.uk/pk

August 12, 2020 - Comments Off on July 2020: Digital 50.50, second edition released

July 2020: Digital 50.50, second edition released

Online Campaigns and Initiatives

Digital 50.50 Second Edition

Digital Rights Foundation released the second edition of its e-magazine, Digital 50.50. This edition focused on the mental health impact and coping strategies during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the topics covered included, a feature on how children are making sense of the coronavirus lockdown, a narrative on digital healing and connectedness during the lockdown and listicle on strategies to do an effective digital detox for mental health and well-being. The reception received by the magazine has so far been amazing and we hope to continue supporting writers and content creators in creating visually strong and intersectional-feminist stories. Do give it a read here or skim through, we have filled it with love for our readers.

Hamara Internet and #MahfoozInternet Campaign

DRF has been taking forward the Hamara Internet campaign on #MahfoozInternet on Twitter highlighting the different aspects of digital rights in Pakistan. The campaign has been focusing on repelling section 20 of PECA 2016, regularly changing passwords to keep devices safe and secure and how social media companies track browser history of individuals.

DRF’s 5 Youth Ambassadors for the Hamara Internet Online Safety Program

DRF launched the Hamara Internet Youth Ambassador Program online and picked 5 youth ambassadors from across Pakistan on a vigorous application process online. The five youth ambassadors will be implementing the Hamara Internet Online Safety curriculum with young adults aged 14 till 18 years old.

Policy initiatives

DRF comments and Objections on the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020

DRF released its comments and objections on the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020. DRF reiterated their statement again that the rules are an attack on the fundamental rights of citizens in the country and shed light on why advocacy groups are boycotting consultation on the matter.

Read the full comments below:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/comments-on-the-consultation-objections-to-the-rules/

Statement against the ban of Bigo live and warning issued to TikTok:

DRF released a statement regarding the ban on the app Bigo live and the warning issued to TikTok recently by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). In the statement it was highlighted how banning both these apps is an attack on the constitutional right of freedom of expression of citizens in the country.

Read the full statement here:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/digital-rights-foundation-expresses-concern-regarding-banning-of-popular-social-media-applications-tiktok-and-bigo-live/

Joint Statement on The Digital Gap during COVID 19 focusing on online classes

Students across Pakistan have been protesting against the shift to online classrooms, rightly pointing out that as students from less urban centers move back home, they either lack access to high-speed internet or no internet at all. DRF released a statement on the digital gap during COVID19 highlighting the problems people are facing with this transition to online spaces. #Internet4GilgitBaltistan #OnlineClasses

Read the full statement here:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/joint-statement-by-digital-rights-foundation-and-bolobhi-the-digital-gap-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-is-exasperating-inequalities/

Cyber Harassment Helpline June Statistics

Cyber Harassment Helpline received 413 complaints in the month of June only. In comparison to the previous months, this is a huge number. It shows a spike in the cases of online violence especially social engineering through which people are coerced into sharing their personal details like National Identity Card number, WhatsApp code, bank account details and, e-wallet details making them susceptible to hacking and financial fraud.

 

Read about our findings in the following articles:

https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/cyber-harassment-on-the-rise-in-pakistan-report-says-1.72354581

https://www.technologytimes.pk/2020/07/02/cyber-harassment-on-the-rise-in-pakistan-report-says/

Media Coverage

DRF on GEO News focusing on how to prevent trolling on social media

DRF’s ED Nighat Dad spoke on Geo News highlighting trolling and how to prevent it in online spaces. She highlighted what measures people can take to avoid trolling and how cyberbullying is a problem in online spaces which should be focused on more.

Nighat Dad spoke on VOA about #unbanPUBG

DRF’s ED Nighat Dad spoke to Voice of America (VOA) about the PUBG ban and how this will have repercussions on our digital economy. She focused on why it is important to #unbanPUBG.

Watch the full interview here:

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CDCCXmIjPdJ/?igshid=11mk74l783mpa

Nighat Dad highlights in the News on ‘Any unwarranted restriction by animal market on digital media poses a threat to the nascent industry’

DRF’s Executive Director Nighat Dad spoke to the News about restrictions being posed on vloggers and bloggers online. She also highlighted how the restriction of speech of influencers and people online is a direct threat to their freedom of expression and a violation of the constitution.

Read the full article here:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/689312-any-unwarranted-restriction-on-digital-media-poses-a-threat-to-the-nascent-industry?_ga=2.128972876.1732215066.1595183554-673778655.1584952470

Digital Exclusion Cripples life in the pandemic

DRF’s ED Nighat Dad shared how digital exclusion silences democratic voices in the country. She talked about how internet connectivity is a serious issue in Pakistan and how it has suffered over the years.

Read the full article here:

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/pakistan-s-digital-exclusion-cripples-life-in-the-pandemic-38503

پاکستانی تعلیمی اداروں میں جنسی ہراس کتنا سنگین مسئلہ ہے؟

DRF’s ED gave comments about how harassment in educational institutions is a growing problem and how institutions need to do more to address these problems.

Read the full article here:

https://www.bbc.com/urdu/pakistan-53566551

Dawn’s Editorial highlights in its editorial about banning online apps

Dawn’s editorial highlighted about banning apps online and retreated DRF’s point on how the justification of such bans to ‘protect’ children is akin to banning highways to prevent road accidents.

Read the full editorial here:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1570991

Events and Sessions

DRF at the School of Tomorrow discussing ‘Freedom & privacy in information societies’ #SOT2020

DRF’s Nighat Dad spoke at Beaconhouse's School of Tomorrow conference on ‘Freedom and Privacy in Information Societies’. She shed light on how every individual is vulnerable online and how one must deal with issues of hacking and privacy breach. She also highlighted why it is important to be aware of your digital footprint.

Watch the full conversation here:

https://twitter.com/memoonashahid/status/1281539835887603714?s=20

Nighat Dad on Digital Rights Digital Divides and the new normal? (A talk by Nighat Dad)

Nighat Dad gave a talk on Digital Rights Digital Divide and the new normal on 21st July. She discussed online spaces post pandemic and particularly highlighted how the online landscape in Pakistan has changed and evolved post pandemic.

DRF at the webinar ‘The critical challenges of tackling hate speech, xenophobia, rhetoric, and incitement to hatred against minorities’

DRF participated in a webinar series on debating challenges for minority protection and spoke on the ‘Critical challenges of tackling hate speech, xenophobia rhetoric and incitement to hatred against minorities’. Nighat Dad spoke at the event on July 2nd and 9th.

DRF conducted a virtual session with Lincoln Corner ‘Digital Rights & Reporting Cyber Bullying’

DRF conducted a virtual session with Lincoln’s corner on ‘Digital Rights & Reporting Cyber Bullying’. Nighat Dad spoke in detail on how protecting one’s individual identity online is important and what one must do to respond to cyber harassment. She also highlighted the cyber harassment helpline and other intitriaves of DRF to tackle cyber harassment and cyberbullying online.

Consultation on VPN registration

DRF held a virtual consultation on the issue of VPN registration by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) with civil society actors, lawyers and industry stakeholders. The consultation was an opportunity to understand the impact of regulating VPNs on not only digital rights indicators, but also the viability of the digital economy in Pakistan.

Meeting with FIA

DRF’s cyber harassment helpline held a meeting with the Cyber Crime Wing of the FIA on July 6, 2020 to discuss the ways in which the work of our law enforcement agencies can be improved to make the internet safer for women and gender minorities.

RightsCon Panels

Digital rights solidarities in South Asia
July 31, 2020

DRF hosted its community lab session on the state of digital rights in South Asia with participants from India, Bangladesh and Nepal to understand the common trends in digital rights and state policies in the region. The aim of this session was also to forge solidarities and partnerships in the region based on our shared histories and challenges.

Between regulation and rights: empowering the citizen through media and information literacy in the context of misinformation and offline violence
July 30, 2020

DRF took part in Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF)’s session at RightsCon 2020. The session (available here) brought a diversity of perspectives of media and information literacy practitioners from the Global North and South to tease out the nuances of the operation of the phenomenon in different socio-political contexts, the government responses, and the role of civil society in mainstreaming media and information literacy within the communities they work with.

Technology-facilitated hate speech and digital activism
July 31, 2020

DRF also took part in BoloBhi’s panel on online hate speech with Arzu Geybullayeva from Azerbaijan and Alex Warofka from Facebook. The session delved into an in-depth discussion about technology facilitated hate speech on social media platforms with special focus on hate received by digital activism. The session analyzed the impact this hate speech has on the movements and their actors, and seeks to explore ways to deal with it.

DRF Attends Uproar Training on 3rd July

Members of  DRF attended an online training on using the uproar tools, which are quite useful for improving research and advocacy skills with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

Curbing Cyber Harassment in rapidly digitalizing world

On 23rd July, DRF took part in a facebook live session to address cyber harassment in a digitalized world. Muhammad Usman represented DRF at this session which was hosted by Peace and Justice Network Pakistan. Usman spoke on the offenses under PECA and on the reporting mechanisms and procedures of cybercrimes in Pakistan.

DRF at UNESCO webinar on ‘Advanced ICTs & Artificial Intelligence: Human Rights & Development Intersection

Nighat Dad spoke on UNESCO’s webinar on ‘Advanced ICTs & Artificial Intelligence: Human rights & Development Intersection’. She highlighted our growing reliance on ICT’s and technology and also highlighted how digital rights are important and need to be implemented in online spaces.

DRF at webinar on ‘Safer and Equal Online Space for Women’

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1668862656610192&ref=watch_permalink

DRF spoke at the webinar ‘Safer and Equal Online Space for Women’. She highlighted how the internet and technology need to be accessible to women for it to move ahead. She also emphasized how these spaces aren’t safe for women and gendered minorities and the responsibility of social media channels to make these spaces safe for all.

A talk on domestic violence in Pakistan

DRF’s Dania Mukhtar spoke on a talk on domestic abuse in Pakistan. She highlighted how domestic abuse has been on the rise in times of COVID19 and what the law says in terms of domestic abuse cases in Pakistan

Watch the full video here:

https://web.facebook.com/sujagvideos/videos/716058139215895

Meeting with Women Action Forum (Lahore) dated 14 July 2020

DRF presented its comments to the amendments proposed by UN Women to the ‘The Punjab Protection against Harassment of Women at the WorkplaceAct, 2010’. After the meeting, the teams of DRF and WAF decided to form a committee to propose amendments to this law as well as the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act, 2016.

Session with AWAM

DRF conducted an online safety session with team members of

Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) Organization of Faislabad on the 29th of July, 2020.

The session covered a basic understanding of how to keep oneself secure and protected from risks while working and operating digitally and was well-received by our participants.

COVID19 Updates

Cyber Harassment Helpline

In the wake of COVID 19 lockdown when cyber harassment cases have increased  DRF has made its cyber harassment helpline operational 24/7 for three months. The cyber harassment helpline is offering the services free of cost for anyone who calls in or reaches out to us via social media or email. These include legal aid, the digital help desk, and mental health counseling. During these three months, our toll-free number is  accessible every day of the week, from 9 AM to 5 PM, our mental health counselors are working from 10 AM to 9 PM each day as well. Our mental health counselors are trained professionals providing free of cost counseling to women and marginalized communities. During all other hours of the day, our team is attending to complaints and queries through online platforms.

Contact the helpline on 080039393 or email us on [email protected]. You can also reach out to us on our social media channels.

Ab Aur Nahin

In times of COVID19 domestic abuse is at an all-time high where victims do not have anywhere to go. Ab Aur Nahin is a confidential legal and counselor support service specifically designed for victims of harassment.

www.abaurnahin.pk

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. The reports will then be assessed by trained IWF analysts in the UK.

https://report.iwf.org.uk/pk

July 13, 2020 - Comments Off on June 2020: DRF launches Digital 50.50 e-magazine

June 2020: DRF launches Digital 50.50 e-magazine

1: Online campaigns and initiatives

Digital 50.50

Digital Rights Foundation launched its newest initiative, a feminist e-magazine called the Digital 50.50, a monthly e-magazine that aims to create an open space for ideas, opinions, art, and discourse on a wide array of topics in the digital rights arena from an intersectional feminist lens. The idea behind launching Digital 50.50 is rooted in our organization’s goal to make online spaces safer and equal for womxn journalists and support them in providing reliable information to the public. To ensure gender-sensitive reporting and amplify women’s voices, Digital 50.50 believes that the inclusion of women is a must in all roles - from content creators and editors to experts, sources, and subjects of stories and art. The theme for the first issue was ‘Impact of Covid-19 on women and girls in online and offline spaces’ and it covered a diverse range of features on how the coronavirus pandemic has transformed the work that journalists do, the rise in incels online, increasing cases of domestic abuse and the economic issues faced by women workers and laborers.

Statement by DRF to save OTF

The US government has recently announced to push money and funding to closed source tools which considerably has adverse effects on the Open Tech Foundation (OTF). OTF’s work is under threat and OTF has been supporting countless journalists, human rights defenders, and organizations working on human rights. DRF condemns this move against open source technology and OTF.

Read our full statement here: https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/drf-condemns-move-against-open-source-technology-and-otf/

Campaign on Digital Laws Asia

DRF, in partnership with APC, did a day-long campaign highlighting the legal landscape of Pakistan with regards to its Digital Laws. This campaign was held across South Asia on the same day and was meant to show a cross-comparison of countries in this region. DRF particularly highlighted the Citizen’s Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020 which restrict freedom of expression and privacy online of citizens. DRF and other organizations have also given out a statement on no consultation on the rules without withdrawal.

Click to read our statement on the rules: https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/drf-condemns-citizens-protection-against-online-harm-rules-2020-as-an-affront-on-online-freedoms/

No Consultation Without Withdrawl of Rules:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pvTqMRF3_fWaH5gQg6DNa9G2ldpAdY_3/view

COVID19 contact tracing

DRF analyzed the COVID19 contact tracing app and raised its concerns regarding possible surveillance through the app and the safety of the user’s data.

Read our full analysis here: https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/covid-19-gov-pk-the-tech-to-battle-coronavirus/

Campaign on together for reliable information

In collaboration with the Free Press Unlimited, Digital Rights Foundation participated in a campaign to highlight the work done by DRF and its Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights to bring accurate and reliable information to the public amid the coronavirus pandemic. The campaign included a series of videos from DRF’s team on our role in bringing reliable information on digital rights to our beneficiaries and the general public and the launch of a toolkit for journalists and content creators on how to keep themselves safe considering the new set of risks and threats being posed in the online spaces. It also brought to the public, a series of visual stories from the journalistic frontline of Covid-19.

DRF internship program

DRF is proud to launch our internship program for this year and also introduce our brilliant batch of interns in the past who worked tirelessly to help us in what we do. To know more about our work and the different projects our interns worked on click on the link below:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/internship-program/

2: Policy Initiatives

Cyber Harassment Helpline Report 2019

DRF released Cyber Harassment Helpline’s annual report of 2019 on 24th June. The report highlights complaint trends observed in the previous year as well as the policy recommendations for all the stakeholders. Concerning trends observed were the increase of attacks on mobile wallets/ e-wallets like EasyPaisa and phishing attacks where people were targeted through WhatsApp or text messaging. The Helpline saw a total of 2023 cases being reported, with a daily average of 146 calls per month in 2019. When compared to the overall complaints the Helpline had received over three years, the calls from 2019 account for 45% of all complaints. This showed an alarming increase in the number of cases over time and a disturbing upward trend in cyber-harassment cases.

Link to report:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/DRF-Helpline-Report-2019-3.pdf

Forum on Information and Democracy working group to combat infodemic and information chaos

The forum on information and democracy launched their first working group to combat infodemic and information chaos and making a policy framework to tackle this crisis. Our ED Nighat Dad is a part of this forum where the mission is to assist with the regulation and self-regulation of the online information and communication domain and to implement the goals of the International Partnership for Information and Democracy that was launched during the UN General Assembly in September 2019 and has now been signed by 37 countries.

Read about the working group here:

https://informationdemocracy.org/2020/06/24/forum-launches-working-group-to-combat-infodemic-information-chaos/

Blog on Internet shutdown in Quetta

DRF observed with great concern the internet shutdown in the provincial capital of Quetta earlier last month that affected the lives of the Baloch residents. The effects of cutting off an essential resource extend not only to the difficulties in the work of journalists who are covering the news in the midst of a pandemic but also to the safety of all those who have to venture out to work and have limited access to their families as well as the access of information to all citizens in the affected area.

Link to the blog post:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/quetta-internet-shutdown/

Blog on countries wanting to regulate and control VPNs and their access

DRF’s intern Areeba Jibril pens down her thoughts around countries regulating and controlling VPNs and how that might be a direct threat to an individual’s privacy, free speech, and elections. She tweets at @AreebaJibril

Link to blog:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/virtual-private-networks-no-longer-private-as-pta-requires-registration/

3: Media Engagement

189% increase in cyber-harassment cases during COVID19 (Policy brief)

Cyber Harassment Helpline released a policy brief on 3rd June delineating the number of cases and complaint trends observed during the lockdown. An increase in the number of complaints during lockdown was observed. The helpline received a combined 136 complaints in March and April during the lockdown compared to 47 complaints, an increase of 189 percent, before the lockdown in January and February. The majority of cases received at the cyber harassment helpline during the lockdown months pertained to blackmailing through non-consensual sharing of information, intimate pictures, and videos. Complaints of hate speech, phishing, fake profiles, and defamation were also reported. These complaints were only received through online mediums (Emails, social media platforms) as Cyber harassment helpline’s toll-free number was inactive. The policy brief also suggested measures for the government to tackle this issue of increased cyber harassment.

Link to policy brief:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Covid-19.pdf

Press coverage of brief:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1561065

https://ibcurdu.com/news/111316/

DRF on morning show ‘Aaj Pakistan with Sidra Iqbal’

Nighat Dad spoke on the morning show ‘Aaj Pakistan with Sidra Iqbal’ highlighting how social media and our personal lives are interlinked. She also highlighted how everyone is vulnerable on social media and it is important to aware of what you’re sharing online.

Link to show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtKHNL7HkVU

Inside Pakistan’s COVID19 Contact Tracing app

DRF spoke to The Diplomat around Pakistan’s COVID19 Contact Tracing App and how boundaries need to be established by the state when they’re introducing such an app. It was highlighted how the privacy of users should also be considered when the app is introduced.

Read the full article here:

https://thediplomat.com/2020/07/inside-pakistans-covid-19-contact-tracing/

4: Events and Sessions

Human Rights in the Digital era: Business respect for civil and political rights in times of emergency

Nighat Dad participated in the United Nations Virtual Forum on Responsible Business and Human Rights 2020. She spoke on a panel on ‘Human Rights in the Digital Era: Business Respect for Civil and Political Rights in times of emergence’. She particularly highlighted the human rights implications of business tackling during COVID 19.

Link to details of the session:

https://rbhr2020.heysummit.com/talks/human-rights-in-the-digital-era-business-respect-for-civil-and-political-rights-in-times-of-emergency/#

APAC Insight 2- True Lies: Misinformation, Censorship and the Open Internet

DRF’s ED Nighat Dad spoke in the webcast ‘True Lies: Misinformation, Censorship and the Open Internet’ hosted by Internet Society Asia Pacific (ISOC) on 30th June. Nighat emphasized on the disinformation campaigns around Pakistan recently and how that is a direct threat to activists to the country.

Link to webcast:

https://isoc.live/12355/

DRF in webinar on How to reduce the digital gender divide in post-pandemic Pakistan

On 16th June DRF in collaboration with the Swedish embassy did a webinar on ‘How to reduce the digital gender divide in post-pandemic Pakistan’. The webinar started with a keynote address from the Swedish ambassador, Ingrid Johansson and later had a presentation by Camila Wagner and Nighat Dad. Camila Wagner, an awarded journalist specializing in societal challenges. She presently runs Klara K, consultants in public affairs, crisis management and leadership. Camila explained the digital gender divide across the globe and in Sweden while DRF’s Nighat Dad drew stark differences between Pakistan and Sweden, and how still much needed to be done in the country.

Online Violence against women during COVID19 at #WOWGlobal24- British council

Nighat Dad spoke about online violence against women during COVID19 ad #WOWGlobal24 by British Council. She shared statistics from the helpline in which we saw an increase in online violence complaints on the helpline by 180% in the month of March when the lockdown was imposed as opposed to January and February of 2020.

 

Click here to read about what she said:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1565792/wow-festival-begins-online

Roundtable on cybercrime and harassment

Nighat Dad spoke on the roundtable on ‘Cyber Harassment Under the Shadow of Corona: Incidence, Control and Punishment’ hosted by the National Initiative against Organized Crime Pakistan. She highlighted how cyber harassment has increased during these times and how cyber harassment helpline is a resource for people facing harassment online.

 

 

 

Emerging stories: Journalism in times of isolation FPU

DRF’s ED participated in Freedom Press Unlimited’s Emerging stories focusing on journalism in times of isolation. She highlighted the work DRF has done with journalists and the challenges journalists are facing on the ground here due to the pandemic.

 

Link to the panel:

https://dezwijger.nl/programma/journalism-in-times-of-isolation-10

 

Courting the Law’s discussion on ‘Rights in the Digital Age’

DRF participated in Candid with Pasha on a live discussion on the ‘Personal Data Protection Bill 2020- How will it impact individuals and corporate?’ on 8th June. She highlighted the discrepancies in the bill and how more work needs to be done around it.

Link to discussion:

Candid with P@SHA - Ep-4 - The Personal Data Protection Bill

In the Next Episode of Candid with P@SHA, we have a Live Panel Discussion on "The Personal Data Protection Bill 2020 - How will it impact Individuals and Corporate?"Our panelists are:- Syed Junaid Imam - Member IT, Ministry of IT&T- Saifullah Khan - Managing Partner, S.U.Khan Associates Corporate & Legal Consultants and Member of P@SHA Legal Committee- Nighat Dad - Founder at Digital Rights Foundation- Badar Khushnood - Co-Founder Bramerz (Pvt.) Ltd.This session will be moderated by Mujeeb Zahur - MD, S&P Global & VC P@SHACatch us LIVE this Monday (June 8th, 2020) at 04:00 PM on P@SHA's Facebook Page for an in-depth analysis!From the event page linked below, you can add a reminder to your calendar:https://www.pasha.org.pk/events/candid-with-pasha-ep-4/Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/899226477246360/#CandidWithPASHA #COVID19 #LIVEDiscussion #DataProtectionBill

Posted by Pakistan Software Houses Association on Monday, June 8, 2020

 

Increased cyber harassment during COVID19 on FM101

DRF spoke on FM 101 around how harassment during COVID19 has increased and also shared startling figures from the helpline around this.

DRF at the public hearing at Budenstag highlighting ‘Human Rights and Freedom of Association in the Digital Age’

DRF’s ED spoke at Budenstag public hearing focusing on human rights and freedom of association in the digital age. She highlighted how lawmakers need to be more thoughtful and aware of the interventions they propose and how it can have international repercussions for all. She also highlighted the responsibilities of the Facebook oversight board and how women and other marginalized groups are vulnerable on the internet.

Aaahung panel: Impact of Online Harassment on Pakistani Youth

DRF participated in the webinar on the ways in which the youth is using online spaces and the efforts we can take to make it a safer place for them.

A recording of the panel can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=321965452134965&ref=watch_permalink.

UN Women panel: Cyber Security & data privacy during COVID19

This webinar focused on the challenges women were facing regarding online violence and remedies available to them in Pakistan. It was a vibrant discussion about the shortcoming of current reporting mechanisms and the steps that can be taken to improve them.

Session on online safety with Dastak Organization

DRF conducted an online session with the team at Dastak Charitable Organization, who work as a refuge for women who have faced physical violence and also operate a crisis helpline for them. The session, which was held on the 29th of June, 2020, proved to be informative and interactive and generated positive feedback.

5: Covid19 Updates

24/7 Cyber Harassment Helpline

On 13th June, given the rise of cyber harassment cases following the COVID 19 lockdown DRF made its cyber harassment helpline operational 24/7 for three months. The cyber harassment helpline is offering our services free of cost for anyone who calls in or reaches out to us via social media or email. These include legal aid, the digital help desk, and mental health counseling. During these three months, our toll-free number will be accessible every day of the week, from 9 AM to 5 PM, our mental health counselors will work from 10 AM to 9 PM each day as well. Our mental health counselors are trained professionals and are providing free of cost counseling to women and those from marginalized communities. During all other hours of the day, our team is attending to complaints and queries through online platforms.

Contact the helpline on 080039393 or email us on [email protected]. You can also reach out to us on our social media channels.

Ab Aur Nahin

In times of COVID19 domestic abuse is at an all-time high where victims do not have anywhere to go. Ab Aur Nahin is a confidential legal and counselor support service specifically designed for victims of harassment.

www.abaurnahin.pk

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. The reports will then be assessed by trained IWF analysts in the UK.

https://report.iwf.org.uk/pk

 

June 3, 2020 - Comments Off on May 2020: DRF celebrates World Press Freedom Day

May 2020: DRF celebrates World Press Freedom Day

Online campaigns and initiatives

World Press Freedom Day

Digital Rights Foundation conducted a three-day campaign to raise awareness on World Press Freedom Day, 3rd May 2020, on how the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent surge in misinformation impacting press freedom. The campaign included three facebook live sessions hosted by our Executive Director Nighat Dad and other team members with amazing journalists including, Amber Rahim Shamsi, Maham Javaid and Najia Asher. The themes of discussion revolved around coronavirus and journalism: disinfodemic and its impact on independent journalism; journalistic frontline, transforming newsrooms and increased stress; and surveillance structure and press freedom. DRF also shared resources and tools by other organisations that can help journalists in fact-checking information around COVID-19. Five infographics on the theme were also developed and shared on DRF’s socials for awareness raising.

Together for Reliable Information Campaign

DRF participated in Free Press Unlimited’s Campaign to highlight the work that our organisation and its Network of Women Journalists’ members are doing to provide people with reliable information. The campaign included five short video interviews from our team and women journalists working at the frontline to report covid-19 related news from the field. DRF developed a digital hygiene toolkit for journalists and the wider community of content creators and bloggers, which will be launched in June 2020. Ten picture stories covering the journalistic frontline of covid-19 were also included in the campaign.

DRF Annual Report

DRF launched it’s Annual report for 2019 highlighting all the important work that we’ve done so far. Through this report we would like to celebrate our team and its effort over the last year. We aim to keep striving towards having a safe and equal digital experience for all.

See our annual report here:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Annual-Reort-2019..pdf

Policy Initiatives

Personal Data Protection Bill Recommendations

DRF submitted a thorough legal analysis of the ‘Personal Data Protection Bill 2020’. Within the bill recommendations were given to the government on how to further strengthen the bill. DRF also developed a video series around the bill to explain key terms and concerns within the bill.

Read the entire analysis here:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/PDPB-2020_-Final-Analysis_05.05.2020-1.pdf

Statement on accountability in Waziristan honour killings

Two women were killed in the name of honor in Waziristan when a man leaked a short video of the two on social media. The video was leaked without the girls consent and contained private imagery. DRF released a statement expressing its outrage over this and demands that justice be served in this case.

Read the full statement here:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/digital-rights-foundation-urges-for-accountability-in-waziristan-honour-killings/

Statement on Violations of Privacy & Condemns Moral Policing in Uzma Khan case:

DRF released a statement expressing its concerns around the privacy violations and moral policing of actress Uzma Khan. Uzma Khan’s video of being bullied in her own home was leaked without her consent and is a clear violation of her privacy. The video let to her character assassination and slut-shaming that is common in cases where women assert their bodily autonomy outside the bounds of marriage.

Read the full statement here:

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/digital-rights-foundation-is-gravely-concerned-with-the-violations-of-privacy-condemns-moral-policing-in-uzma-khan-case/

Media Engagement

Digital rights activist Nighat Dad part of Facebook's 'supreme court' for content

DRF is proud to announce that our ED Nighat Dad is now a part of Facebook’s newly announced oversight board to oversee decisions regarding content published on the social media network and Instagram. Nighat is one of 20 board members across the globe promoting women rights, human rights and freedom of expression on the board.

Read the full article here:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1555236/digital-rights-activist-nighat-dad-part-of-facebooks-supreme-court-for-content

Pakistan's 'honor killings' show women need digital skills, says Facebook oversight board member

Nighat Dad spoke to Thomson Reuters Foundation news about the honour killings of two girls in Waziristan over a leaked video online. She highlighted how the internet can be used against women and this is especially true in a patriarchal society like Pakistan.

Read the full article here:

https://news.trust.org/item/20200521151630-xewbx

Article on privacy concerns with tech to tackle Covid-19

DRF’s Shmyla Khan and Zainab Khan Durrani wrote about the framework of the data protection bill and why this may be a cause of concern for citizens. The two also talked about the emergence of invasive technology to tackle the virus and why it is important for citizens to be vigilant.

Read the full article here:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/659111-pandemic-tech-and-privacy-concerns

Events and Sessions

Coronavirus and Children Series

DRF’s Executive Director Nighat Dad spoke on UNICEF’s webinar on ‘Coronavirus & Children Series’ highlighting how access to ICTs is a fundamental right for everyone. She also spoke about the prevalent inequalities in online spaces in Pakistan and how girls in Pakistan are under more scrutiny online as compared to boys.

Drawing lessons from COVID 19

DRF spoke at a webinar of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on drawing lessons from COVID19 on account of world press freedom day. DRF’s ED Nighat highlighted the unequal access of information between the urban and rural and how this in itself has created a hierarchy amongst citizens. She also highlighted the rise of misinformation in times of COVID in Pakistan and how this can be a problem during the pandemic.

Fireside Chat with Nighat Dad

The NEST I/O startup pulse hosted a fireside chat with DRF’s Nighat Dad with Jehan Ara. The two discussed the workings of the data protection bill and cyber crime laws in Pakistan. There was also a discussion around online hate speech and how to curb it in times of COVID.

Inequalities: Bridging the Divide

Nighat Dad spoke at the #UN75 dialogue on ‘Inequalities: Bridging the Divide’ with 200 students, faculty and participants of NUST university from across the globe. Nighat spoke about the inequalities across the internet along with the legal and gender based inequalities in Pakistan. She also shed light on the inequalities on freedom of expression in the country.

Read more about the session here:

https://nation.com.pk/29-May-2020/nust-hosts-un75-dialogue

Pandemic Contact Tracing, privacy and data protection

DRF participated in the virtual #ImpactTalk that focused on issues with contact tracing applications from the perspective of data protection and civil rights. It was pointed out by the speakers that while it is important to address the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a balance needs to be struck with civil liberties both in the short and long term. This is particularly important in the South Asian context where there is a dearth of data protection regulations and privacy rights.

TWEETCHAT: Feminist Responses to the “Bois Locker Room”

DRF participated in a Tweetchat on May 27, 2020 organised by “End Cyber Abuse” which focused on the issue of masculinities and their manifestation in online spaces, particularly in light of the “Bois Locker Room” incident in India.

Giving Tuesday ChaynHQ

Chayn raised funds for its friends and partners on a great initiative called ‘Giving Tuesday’. Chayn raised money for the cyber harassment helpline which provides three basic services to its callers which is digital security, legal aid and psychological counselling.

DRF Collaborated With Accountability Labs 

We worked with Accountability Labs on one of their issues of their ‘Pakistan Coronavirus CivAct  Campaign’ Newsletter. This particular issue was about digital safety and security during this pandemic. This newsletter went through the types of attacks that people were facing through the lockdown and what they can do both in a preventative manner and in a defensive manner.

COVID Updates

Cyber Harassment Helpline

The Cyber harassment helpline is working virtually and has started taking calls from Monday till Friday 9 am till 5 pm. The helpline number is 0800-39393 and the helpline provides three basic services which are legal help, psychological assistance and digital security assistance.

Ab Aur Nahin

In times of COVID19 domestic abuse is at an all time high where victims do not have anywhere to go to. Ab Aur Nahin is a confidential legal and counselor support service specifically designed for survivors of harassment.

Contact us now:

https://abaurnahin.pk/

IWF Portal:

Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) in collaboration with the 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. The reports will then be assessed by trained IWF analysts in the UK.

The portal can be access on:

https://report.iwf.org.uk/pk

 

 

May 15, 2020 - Comments Off on April 2020: Online Campaigns and Initiatives 

April 2020: Online Campaigns and Initiatives 

Joint Statement by Digital Rights Foundation and BoloBhi: The Digital Gap During the COVID-19 Pandemic is Exasperating Inequalities

DRF and BoloBhi released a statement regarding the impact of the digital gap during the COVID-19 pandemic and the exclusions that will arise in terms of class, gender, geographical location, ability, and digital literacy.

Read the full statement here:

Joint Statement by Digital Rights Foundation and BoloBhi: The Digital Gap During the COVID-19 Pandemic is Exasperating Inequalities

https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/the-colombo-declaration-march-6th-2020/

Girls in ICT Day 

DRF launched an online campaign for Girls in ICT Day on 23rd April to encourage more women to be part of the tech industry. The day emphasizes the need for women to be a part of the ICT sector and how women's access to technology is still limited and hindered. DRF asked women in tech about their experiences in tech and why it is important to keep online spaces safe and inclusive for women.

International Women’s Day: Media4Women 2020 Campaign

 DRF joined the global campaign with 48 partners from 21 countries committing to putting gender equality in the media on the local and international agenda. The global theme was Inclusive and Equal Portrayal of Women by the Media.

DRF’s campaign involved a design competition and quotes from network members on the problematic gender stereotypes portrayed by and in the media. The cash prize for the design competition was PKR 15,000, which was won by Amara Sikandar. Here’s her painting.  

About her design, she said, “Media plays an important role in promoting inclusivity and should put in all efforts to include their perspectives and talk about their rights as a step towards them having their lawful rights.”

COVID UPDATES
Cyber Harassment Helpline 

The helpline’s toll-free number is finally operational. Thanks to the PTA, our number is operating remotely, helping our team to continue practicing social distancing while also assisting you all out too! You can now call us from 9 am till 5 pm, Monday to Friday, or email us on [email protected].

IWF Portal

Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) in collaboration with the 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. The reports will then be assessed by trained IWF analysts in the UK.

The new portal can be found at https://report.iwf.org.uk/pk

Ab Aur Nahin

In times of COVID19 domestic abuse is at an all-time high with women having nowhere to go and ask for help.  Aur Nahin is a confidential legal and counselor support service specifically designed for survivors of abuse. We provide a comprehensive directory of lawyers around the country to provide you with the support and assistance you need. You are not alone, and you do not need to fight alone.

Media Engagement

Spread of Disinformation has increased during lockdowns 

https://www.samaa.tv/video/2020/04/spread-of-disinformation-has-increased-during-lockdown-says-nighat-dad/

https://twitter.com/nighatdad/status/1250405111152730119?s=20

During COVID19 disinformation is putting lives at risk especially when it is repeated and amplified by influential and political leaders, it puts true information at the risk of having an only marginal impact. Our Executive Director Nighat Dad  shares her thoughts about fake news in times of the pandemic.

Events and Sessions

Digital Security During The Pandemic


On 23rd April, DRF alongside our friends at ‘Bolo Bhi’ held an Instagram live session to address concerns following a rise in phishing attacks and sextortion emails. The session was moderated by Bolo Bhi’s Kashaf Rehman and our digital security expert and communications lead, Arslan Athar represented DRF and answered questions regarding digital safety during COVID 19.

 

April 21, 2020 - Comments Off on March 2020: Launch of IWF Pakistan reporting portal

March 2020: Launch of IWF Pakistan reporting portal

Online Campaigns and Initiatives

On March 19, Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) in collaboration with the 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. The reports will then be assessed by trained IWF analysts in the UK. It is the 33rd portal set up around the world to fight the spread of online child sexual abuse material.

The launch was due to take place in Pakistan and would have been attended by representatives from the British High Commission in Pakistan, as well as representatives from the IWF. However, following the cancellation of flights and public gatherings because of the coronavirus, it was decided a virtual launch would be the best solution.

The new portal can be found at https://report.iwf.org.uk/pk

#EndOnlineChildAbuse

M4W campaign 2020

DRF participated in Media4Women (M4W) 2020 campaign with around 48 partners from 21 countries committing to putting gender equality in the media on the local and international agenda. The campaign was run between March 1st and March 15th and the theme for this year focused on, Inclusive and Equal Portrayal of Women by the Media. Members of DRF’s Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights shared quotes on challenging problematic gender stereotypes that portrayed women as less important than men, these were shared on all social media platforms of DRF. DRF also conducted a design competition on the global theme for the year and received numerous submissions.

Policy Initiatives

DRF on Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020

https://www.geo.tv/latest/275191-social-media-rules-digital-rights-group-calls-govts-call-for-consultation-token-to-deflect-criticism

The Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020, notified by the Federal Government, was the government's attempt to centralize control of all online content through one central ‘National Coordinator,’ which was granted unprecedented censorship powers. It required all social media companies to have a local presence, obligated them to remove any objectionable material and flag as ‘false’ any content communicated to them as being false by the Coordinator. These rules were made without any consultation with any stakeholders and outrightly infringed the Constitutional rights of privacy and free speech. Realizing the devastating impact these rules would have on the already precarious human rights condition with regards to user privacy and freedom of expression, Digital RIghts Foundation issued a statement condemning these rules followed by a Legal Analysis of the same which was also shared publicly. Apart from other things, it was discussed in the legal analysis how these rules violate fundamental right of privacy and free speech, exceed the scope of, as well as contravene, the legislative enactments under which they were framed.

Joint Statement by Digital Rights Foundation and BoloBhi: The Digital Gap During the COVID-19 Pandemic is Exasperating Inequalities

Joint Statement by Digital Rights Foundation and BoloBhi: The Digital Gap During the COVID-19 Pandemic is Exasperating Inequalities

DRF Contributed To ‘The Colombo Declaration’. South Asian Feminists contribution to the Beijing +25 process and other processes

Feminist organizations from South Asia got together to write out a feminist declaration that would be used to create modern states that champion causes like equality, freedom and privacy. You can read the entire declaration here:

THE COLOMBO DECLARATION (March 6th 2020)

Events and Sessions

DRF holds Gender and Privacy at Government College Sahiwal

DRF conducted an informative session on Gender and Privacy at the Government College in Sahiwal on the 3rd of March, 2020 where an audience of 100+ young men and women were in attendance. The session covered a host of topics around the theme and was well-received.

DRF at ‘Empowering Women to fight disinformation’

DRF in collaboration with Global Neighborhood For Media Innovation (GNMI) conducted a session on empowering women to fight disinformation- coming together to combat fake news on 4th March 2020 in Lahore. The session focused on how fake news manifests itself in online spaces and the importance of source verification for not only journalists but also common citizens of the country. The audience included female journalists and media practitioners.

DRF at ‘Bridging Gaps between GBV Survivors and Response Services’

Dastak Charitable Trust held an event, titled: ‘Bridging Gaps between GBV Survivors and Response Services' in which they brought together their first responders and community workers with organizations and institutes in a bid to better inform them and give them a chance to exchange information and ask questions about practical elements of the important work they do with domestic abuse victims. DRF was part of the panel and introduced the Cyber Harassment Helpline to the audience. Informational material was also distributed to the participants of the event.

Other participant organizations and institutions were the police, PCSW, a mental health care helpline, HRCP, AGHS, amongst others.

DRF at FNF’s seminar on ‘Strengthening NGOs: Strategy, Management and Fundraising’


The Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) held a seminar on 'Strengthening NGOs: Strategy, Management and Fundraising' at the International Academy of Leadership (IAF), Gummersbach from 8th March till 20th March.

During the seminar, the participants took a deep dive into what it takes to set up the organisations. All the participants planned for different ways through which they will be able to upsurge and increase the capacity, sustainability and impact of their organisations. Participants were invited to reflect on their organisation’s purpose and vision, and explore the concepts of leadership and management. The facilitators discussed their organisational culture and NGOs in Germany i-e Mother-hood, a German initiative for the safety of women and children during the birth. A fundraising workshop with Jonathan Moakes was also held on “Managing Donor Relations and Performance Management Plans.”

Media Engagement

Battling for women rights online in midst of patriarchy

AFP wrote a piece on DRF’s executive director Nighat Dad on her work related to women rights and digital rights in Pakistan. The article uncovers Nighat’s journey as an activist and also sheds light on the formation of the Digital Rights Foundation. You can read the full article here:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1537944

‘How to Pakistan’ podcast CHAYN

Our Executive Director Nighat Dad was part of the podcast ‘How to Pakistan’ by Chayn which focuses on the #metoo movement in the country. The podcast in available in both urdu and english here:

https://twitter.com/ChaynHQ/status/1232575812228067328?s=20

COVID Updates

Helpline Virtually Available amid Coronavirus pandemic

In wake of the Pandemic COVID 19, Digital Rights Foundation decided to take all the precautionary measures necessary to prevent the spread of this infection, prioritizing both the health of its team members and its callers by shifting the operations of Cyber Harassment Helpline virtual and responding to complaints through emails and social media platforms. Contact us through our email [email protected]

March 19, 2020 - Comments Off on DRF in collaboration with the World Economic Forum conducted the Mobilizing and Inspiring Action with Technology 2020

DRF in collaboration with the World Economic Forum conducted the Mobilizing and Inspiring Action with Technology 2020

WEF

Digital Rights Foundation and the World Economic Forum in collaboration with institutional partners hosted a first of its kind event in Kathmandu from February 19-21, 2020. This event brought together participants from across South Asia and the rest of the world to discuss the implications of digital and emerging technologies for organizations promoting advocacy and mobilizing people-powered action in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

DRF Collaborated with PJA on hosting a session addressing online gender based violence with Punjab Judicial Academy (PJA) in a conference on Cyber Law


DRF took part in the Punjab Judicial Academy (PJA) titled “Cyber Law” and hostes a panel titled “Digital violence against gender-based marginalised communities” in collaboration with PJA. The conference was attended by the Lahore High Court Chief Justice, Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed. The conference was attended by nearly 300 judges and included both local and international experts.

DRF Executive Director, Nighat Dad spoke at the conference on ‘Social Media And Ways To Promote Freedoms And Protect Activists’

https://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/19/02/2020/Call-for-enhanced-coordination-between-CSOs-to-protect-digital-rights

At a talk titled ‘Identification of future activities to broaden civic spaces on social media’, Nighat Dad talked about how there is a need to bring together CSOs from across South Asia and have them work together. She said that South Asia is faced with many issues of digital rights, and working together can help bride those gaps.

DRF wins the 6th eNGO Challenge Award 2019-2020.

DRF won under the category of the best Civil Society Digital Innovator. The 6th eNGO Challenge Awards was organized by the Digital Empowerment Foundation in New Delhi, India.

DRF at FNF’s panel discussion on fake news

Digital Rights Foundation participated in a panel discussion hosted by Friedrich Nauman Foundation on the launch of the urdu version of their book, “What can be done to counter Fake News?". The panel discussion was held on 22 February 2020 at PNCA during the Mother Language Literature Festival and had Maryam Saeed from DRF, Asad Baig from Media Matters for Democracy and Gulmina Bilal from Individual Land. It was attended by I.A. Rehman, Afrasiab Khattak and Fauzia Saeed among many other activists from the civil society organisations.

DRF at Human Rights Situation in Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities

Digital Rights Foundation attended a seminar on the current human rights situation in the country on 13th February organized by EU. The seminar had UN Special Rapporteur Michel Frost as the chief guest of the event. DRF also took part in NHRF Grantee workshop on 14th to 15th February in Islamabad. The workshop focused on learning and sharing of NHRF partners in the country.

Cyberbullying session in Beaconhouse Bahria Town Campus

Digital Rights Foundation conducted a seminar with students of Bahria Town O-levels around cyber bullying and harassment. Two sessions were conducted with the students on 26th February one with boys and the other with girls. The session focused on why it is important for children to keep their information personal online and the implications of cyber bullying on children.

DRF at ‘Maati Talks’ discussing Web and OTT Rules by PEMRA

Maati Talks : Is Social Media Changing for Pakistan

In this episode of Maati Talks we talk about a new proposal by PEMRA that seeks to regulate digital content producers by placing a licensing fee on them.Link to the original PEMRA document is in the comment section of this video. The video is made in collaboration with Digital Rights Foundation

Posted by Maati TV on Thursday, February 27, 2020

Zainab Durrani represented the DRF team on a panel discussion for the web show ‘Maati Talks’ which was focused on discussing the proposed Web and OTT Rules by PEMRA and the implications of enacting said Rules on web content, content creators and the impact on the legal landscape that has the ability to curtail fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and right to information.

Training on Combating Insecurities in the Age of Digital Media Transformations


DRF organized a workshop for journalists on ‘’Combating Insecurity in the Age of Digital Media Transformations’’ in Peshawar on the  26th and 27th of February 2020. The aim of the workshop was to discuss if the existing media ethics are suitable for the evolving digital media landscape or new and diverse standards are required. Around 25 journalists from print, electronic and digital media joined and actively participated in the two-day workshop. Participants gave their input on how to tackle fake news and disinformation online, considering the low levels of digital literacy among the population in Pakistan which makes it vulnerable to all kinds of online and digital propaganda, and also discussed ways forward in developing the media industry.

Statement: DRF Condemns Citizen’s Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020 as an Affront on Online Freedoms

DRF Condemns Citizen’s Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020 as an Affront on Online Freedoms

Digital Rights Foundation released a statement condemning the recent ‘Citizen Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020 which were notified by the Ministry of Information Technology. Click here to read the full statement.

 

 

February 10, 2020 - Comments Off on January 2020: DRF released its latest report on fake news

January 2020: DRF released its latest report on fake news

Digital Rights Foundation released its report titled, ‘Sifting Truth from Lies in the Era of Fake News’,  on 15th January 2020. The study attempts to identify topics that are more susceptible to fake news, and common methods of its dissemination. It also examines the extent of fact-checking practiced in Pakistan’s newsrooms and how often do journalists believe fake news to be true.

Based on the experiences of 152 journalists and activists, who participated in a survey for the research, the report found that over 88per percent respondents identified social media platforms as the least worthy source of information with WhatsApp being a top choice. Eight percent of journalists said that no one fact-checked in the newsroom they worked at. The report can be accessed here. A policy brief was also released to be shared with key stakeholders and can be accessed here. The launch of the report was also widely covered in the media.

Understanding cyber harassment through a gendered lens - one day training session with Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) Cybercrime Wing, Karachi

On January 23, 2020 DRF conducted a training session  ‘Understanding cyber harassment through a gendered lens’ in collaboration with UN Women for FIA cyber crime representatives in Movenpick hotel, Karachi.  The ubiquitousness of harassment cases was discussed delineating its reasons viz; anonymity of users, gender hierarchy, lack of digital literacy, and victim-blaming. Session also highlighted how technology has deepened the gender divide and is being used as a platform for harassment. The aim of the session was to challenge participants’ views regarding harassment and shift attention from victim to perpetrator in order to help them empathize with victims coming to lodge their complaints, to build an insight around the fears and apprehensions of the victims that need to be addressed while building the victims’ trust in the procedure, and to address their queries regarding cyber harassment laws (PECA, 2016) and their prosecutorial shortcomings.

Combating Insecurity in the Age of Digital Media Transformations in Lahore

DRF organized a workshop for journalists on ‘’Combating Insecurity in the Age of Digital Media Transformations’’ at Park Lane Hotel, Lahore on 13th and 14th January 2020. The aim of the workshop was to discuss if the existing media ethics are suitable for the evolving digital media landscape or new and diverse standards are required. Around 24 journalists from print, electronic and digital media joined and actively participated in the two-day workshop. Participants gave their input on how to tackle fake news and disinformation online, considering the low levels of digital literacy among the population in Pakistan which makes it vulnerable to all kinds of online and digital propaganda.

DRF, alongside other major citizen groups and NGOs, released a public statement against proposed PEMRA laws

After much discussion, DRF and other advocacy groups came together to raise their voice and concern over proposed draft PEMRA regulations which are widely seen as draconian and as major impediments to freedom of speech, and creativity. The entire statement can be found here:

Citizens Groups, Journalists’ Body & Others Reject PEMRA’s Draconian Proposed Draft Regulations On Web TV & Other Allied Attempts

Session at Digital Literacy Camp for Young Opinion Leaders by Interactive Resource Centre

DRF delivered a session on “Understanding Social Media in the Age of Misinformation and Insecurity” at the Interactive Resource Centre on January 31 with content creators from across Pakistan where we spoke about digital rights education, the online right to freedom of expression and privacy, and digital safety.

Participated in launch of ‘End Cyber Abuse’ portal and Webinar

DRF contributed to the making of the ‘Pakistan Factsheet for “End Cyber Abuse”, which provide details regarding all legal remedies available to citizens in each country when faced with online abuse and violence. These fact sheets can be accessed here: http://endcyberabuse.org/country-factsheets/

DRF also participated in a webinar titled "A Spotlight on Legal Remedies for Survivors of Image-Based Sexual Abuse Worldwide” on January 28th where we discussed the legal regime in Pakistan and the challenges that victims face in reporting cases of online violence. A recording of the webinar can be found here: https://thomsonreuters.webex.com/recordingservice/sites/thomsonreuters/recording/fc889b1833b8412e895447dd217a93eb.

Session on Domestic Violence by Lincoln Corners at “Peacetivity”

DRF conducted an awareness session on domestic violence laws in Pakistan via weblink on January 11. The event was organised by Lincoln Corners at “Peacetivity”. The session covered the legal regime in each province, particularly Sindh, as well as the resources women have when reporting instances of online harassment.

DRF was a signatory to the APC’s Open Letter to the United Nations.

The purpose of this open letter was to raise our voice and concern over a proposed international convention against cyber crime that could impede on human rights online.

The details of this can be seen here:

https://www.apc.org/en/pubs/open-letter-un-general-assembly-proposed-international-convention-cybercrime-poses-threat-human

DRF’s Executive Director, Nighat Dad took part in Esra’a Al Shafei’s podcast titled ‘Why We’re Pissed’.

Esra’a is a Bahraini Civil Rights Activist and Blogger. Her podcast, ‘Philantropi$$ed’ takes a critical look at the NGO sector worldwide. You can listen to her and Nighat’s fascinating conversation here:

Episode #1: Why We’re Pissed

DRF’s Executive Director, Nighat Dad, was selected for the prestigious International Leaders Programme (ILP).

The ILP identifies global leaders and invites them to the United Kingdom for high level meetings, briefings and diplomatic visits. Nighat is the first digital rights activist to be chosen for the ILP from Pakistan.

Before leaving for the program, Nighat Dad met with the British High Commissioner Dr. Christian Turner in Islamabad.

During the ILP, Nighat Dad took part in multiple high level meetings, and met with other activists and leaders who are working on digital rights. Nighat Dad also met with Baroness Helena Kennedy and had a productive conversation about civil liberties online and a collective way forward in the promotion of digital rights and online freedom of speech.

 

January 22, 2020 - Comments Off on December 2019: Digital Rights Foundation conducts its Sixth National Conference on Privacy: #PrivacyIsARight

December 2019: Digital Rights Foundation conducts its Sixth National Conference on Privacy: #PrivacyIsARight

Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) conducted its Sixth National Conference on “Privacy: #PrivacyIsARight” on December 7, 2019 in Islamabad to discuss issues relating to artificial intelligence, and algorithmic decision-making in the context of privacy rights. The event was supported by one of our key partners, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. The keynote address was delivered by former senator Faratullah Babar. The conference featured the Glass Room Exhibit which featured interactive installations such as “The Zuckerburg House”, “The Empire”, “A Data-Day”, “Fake or Real” and “The Real Life of Your Selfie” which were supported by Tactical Tech as part of its global exhibit.

A panel discussion on the topic “The Future of Tech: AI and Algorithms in the Context of the Criminal Justice System & Social Justice” was conducted to tackle the issue of emerging technology such as artificial intelligence and algorithmic decision-making from a human rights perspective. The panelists included Dr. Maryam Mustafa, Dr. Muhammad Nadeem, Rahma M Mian and Aleena Alavi.

The event also included a vibrant debate on the proposition “This House Believes That (THBT): Sentencing by judges should be delegated to algorithms”. Oves Anwar (RSIL), Mujtaba Hussain (KPITP) and Usama Khilji (BoloBhi) spoke in favour of the motion. A team of Malaika Raza, Aniqa Arshad and Zoya Rehman argued against the proposition.

Press Conference with Joint Action Committee on Dec 16

DRF took part in a press conference as part of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) to highlight the issue of shrinking spaces in Pakistan, especially the lack of freedoms for civil society. Speakers at the conference included representatives from HRCP, WISE, AGHS Legal Cell, South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK), SAFMA and several others. DRF particularly highlighted the shrinking online spaces and how it was impacting other fundamental freedoms enjoyed by citizens.

National Feminist Legal Theory and Practice Training (NFLTP)-Pakistan

DRF took part in the NFLTP organised by HomeNet from December 17th till 19th. Jannat Ali Kalyar and Shmyla Khan attended the conference as representatives from DRF. The workshop focused on feminist approaches to the law, covering a wide range of issues relating to international human rights law, intersectionality, the feminist movement in Pakistan and critiques of laws aimed at addressing gender-based issues in Pakistan.

Nighat in Women of the World Festival

DRF’s Executive Director Nighat Dad took part in the ‘Women of the World’ Festival in Karachi, and took part in a panel discussion titled, ‘Feminism in the Digital Age’. This panel aimed to bring to light issues of access to the internet as well as how the the feminist movement has played out in digital spaces.

Privacy series with TNS:

As part of our work on data privacy and data protection, we partnered with ‘The News on Sunday’ to publish opinion pieces about the topic. The aim with these articles was to help create awareness, and further public discourse on the matter.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/586618-cyber-insecurityhttps://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/579980-under-the-watchful-eye

DRF conducts session at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro

DRF conducted a session on 3rd December with students and admin of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology at the USPCAS-W Auditorium. The session titled Hamara Internet: Online Spaces; Challenges and Opportunities had 174 students from the institute. The session highlighted the current digital rights discourse in the country along with a need for a data protection bill in the country. Students shared their experiences of online harassment and harassment in general and also highlighted the pivotal role of each citizen to make online spaces safe for all.

DRF conducted session at Iqra University, North Campus, Karachi

DRF conducted a session on 4th December with students and admin of Iqra University, North Campus, Karachi. The session was with 92 students and teachers on campus. The session highlighted the impact of online violence in offline spaces and how certain communities are vulnerable online. There was a much needed debate around the current cybercrime legislation in the country and also the need for a data protection bill.

Landmark Judgement regarding Right To Information and Privacy passed by Pakistan Information Commission.

The Chief Information Commissioner passed a landmark order in December 2019 which can be seen as a major win in the area of privacy and data rights. The judgement is as follows:

“All Public Information Officers designated under Section 9 of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017 are directed not to demand the provision of certified copy of CNIC when an applicant mentions that s/he is citizen of Pakistan. A Public Information Officer can only demand production of CNIC when it is warranted by objective grounds, i.e. a request for information seems to have been filed from abroad.”

In the proceedings of the appeal, DRF’s Executive Director Nighat Dad acted as Amicus Curie, and added her  input. She talked about the current legal landscape regarding privacy, which in Pakistan is covered under Article 14 of the Constitution. Nighat Dad also talked about how there are no data protection laws in the country, a matter that has led to private citizen’s data being compromised, as seen in the case of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s online citizen portal and its corresponding app. Additionally, she added the following, ‘Until and unless a robust data protection law is enacted, collection of private information, unless explicitly required, should not be collected. Furthermore, making CNIC as a requirement for access to a fundamental right, such as the right to information, is too onerous a restriction.’