January 7, 2018 - Comments Off on December 2017: One Year of the Cyber Harassment Helpline Countering Online Violence
The Cyber Harassment Helpline Completes its One Year
As the Digital Rights Foundation’s Cyber Harassment Helpline completes its one year, the team compiles and releases its first one-year report. The report [PDF] contains data collected by the Helpline which highlights the nature and extent of the problem of online harassment. The Report also contains recommendations for public bodies to improve their institutional response to online harassment. Read more...
DRF Launches the Network of Female Journalists for Online Safety
Digital Rights Foundation marked the launch of their Network of Female Journalists on Online Safety on 12th December. The launch was coupled with a two-day advance training with 28 female journalists from across Pakistan.
The objective of the network is to empower female journalists to practice and promote online safety within media houses and to raise awareness regarding digital rights issues in mainstream media. Journalists were made aware about reporting on digital rights issues leading to improved quality of reporting when talking about the said rights.
The network will ensure quick and easy access to DRF’s Cyber Harassment Helpline to journalists and human rights defenders. The helpline is the first of its kind in Pakistan and provides legal advice, digital security support, and psychological counseling to the victims of cyber harassment.
DRF Presented at IGF 2017 in Geneva
Digital Rights Foundation is at the Twelfth Annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) happening in Geneva, Switzerland from 18th to 21st of December, 2017. The dynamic get-together of diverse stakeholders will discuss pressing public policy issues related to the digital world. It allows all participants to share their experiences and debate, as equals, the opportunities and challenges arising from the process of digitization. Read the details of the interventions by DRF here.
Reviewing the Right to Privacy in Pakistan
Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) and Bolo Bhi organized the “Reviewing the Right to Privacy in Pakistan Roundtable” at the Islamabad Hotel, Islamabad on Thursday, December 7th, 2017.
The goal of the roundtable was to have a comprehensive and interactive discussion with relevant stakeholders about data protection and the right to privacy in Pakistan. International and national trends and developments in regards to digital rights, freedom of expression online, and data protection measures were discussed at the event.
The conference covered the themes of data protection and privacy on the internet within the Pakistani context through participatory sessions with participants. The first panel, titled “Data Protection and the Open Government Partnership Process”, was moderated by Nighat Dad, and shed light on the commitments made by the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT), under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) process, to introduce a data protection law in Pakistan. The panelists included Ali Mohyuddin and Ebrar Rashid from NADRA, Arzak Khan, Saad Saleem, the co-founder of Nayatel, Imran Haider from FIA, Natalia Tariq from Open Society Foundations, Saleha Zahid from Bolo Bhi, and Jannat Ali Kalyar from DRF.
The second panel, titled “The Right to Privacy through Gendered Lens”, addressed the gendered nature of the right to privacy, with particular focus on the gendered experiences of this right. The panel, moderated by Zoya Rehman, brought together a diverse set of perspectives to discuss the variations as well as overlap of the gendered nature of the privacy discourse within Pakistan. The panelists, which included Khawar Mumtaz, chairperson of NCSW, Shmyla Khan of DRF, Mehlab Jameel, Fatima Anwar from Engage Foundation, and Dr. Safieh Shah, further discussed how privacy from a gender perspective is a vital part of the larger discourse on internet rights.
#HamaraInternetKyaHai: DRF launched its campaign for 16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women
Digital Rights Foundation has been working on women's safe access to technology since it was founded in 2012, and we always try to keep our narrative unbiased and our conversations inclusive. Some of our team members were actively involved in the drafting of the Feminist Principles of the Internet also, and implement their learning and knowledge along with these principles in our projects in Pakistan that primarily involve advocating for a feminist internet, while promoting digital security and countering online gender based violence.
With this year's 16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women, we decided to mainstream the feminist internet discourse in Pakistan - a topic that has not been highlighted all that much here - through the hashtag #HamaraInternetKyaHai (Urdu for What is Our Internet?). Our communications team strategised and executed the campaign keeping multiple approaches in mind, making sure people understand the narrative and engage in the conversation. And we're truly glad that they did take part in the conversation through various mediums, be it by comments and tweets on social media, or via expressing their interest directly to the DRF team members, or through the Cyber Harassment Helpline that we launched in 2016 and is accessible to people via toll-free number.
Here's the breakdown of the activities that we did as part of DRF's 16 Days of Activism:
- Two Tweet Chats with DRF's team members, and wonderful feminists who advocate for a feminist internet in Pakistan. We've compiled these chats here in chronological order: https://www.scoop.it/t/16-
- A blogpost on why does a feminist internet matter, by Fatima Athar:
- A blogpost on how harassment hinders women's access to public spaces, both online and offline - by Hyra Basit: https://
- We made this short and extremely powerful video depicting how women fall victim of a technological breach, and this is further used by the harassers to abuse victims and blackmail them into meeting more of their demands:
This video proved to be important in two ways in the context of Pakistan; a) a lot of people who reached out to us with a feedback on the campaign accepted that this video has helped them accept that it's not a woman's fault if someone bypasses technological loopholes and records them in their private space, where they're supposed to be feeling safe, and b) they understood that digital security is really important to be practiced. A lot of them also said that they covered their webcams after watching this video.
- And lastly, we launched completed our first year of the Cyber Harassment Helpline and released the one-year report based on our findings and experiences of operating a national level helpline that is also first of its kind. Access the report through this post: https://
Content Regulation in the Digital Age – DRF’s Submission to the Human Rights Council Report 2018
On December 20th, 2017, Digital Rights Foundation submitted its response to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, for the upcoming study, “Content Regulation in the Digital Age” as part of the June 2018 Human Rights Council Report.
This submission is a precursor to DRF’s future plans to investigate the rol