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March 15, 2024 - Comments Off on February 2024 Newsletter: Nighat Dad at the Munich Security Conference

February 2024 Newsletter: Nighat Dad at the Munich Security Conference

Nighat Dad shared her insights at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) alongside Google CEO Sundar Pichai and former President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, moderated by Ian Bremmer, delving into the crucial intersection of geopolitics, AI, and electoral integrity.

She highlighted AI's broader societal impact, including inclusivity and human rights, beyond mere technology. While Western regulations are crucial, they may not address global challenges adequately. The Global South's voice gained recognition through the UN's High-Level Panel on AI. Nighat urged platforms to increase resources for human rights and transparency. Empowering researchers and reassessing governance are essential for fair AI. She emphasized integrating human rights into AI security discussions and promoting transparency. Finally, she called for civil society involvement and anchored regulations in human rights for effective AI ethics.

Policy Initiatives:

DRF Election Desk

Digital Rights Foundation launched its Election Desk. It is a mapping project to document instances of network shutdowns and infringements on free speech via the targeted closure of specific social media sites and access to the internet overall. It consolidated all the latest resources and showcased the legal analysis of different parties’ manifestos in relation to digital rights. This endeavor seeks to uphold democratic values and ensure a transparent and open dialogue during such critical events.

For more:

Legal Framework for Financing Election Campaigns in Pakistan

In Pakistan, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is responsible for overseeing election processes, including campaign financing. The legal framework for campaign financing is primarily governed by the Election Act of 2017. This Act sets limits on election campaign expenditures by candidates. It requires candidates to keep detailed accounts of their campaign expenses and submit these accounts to the ECP.

Important note: Section 132 does not explicitly differentiate between offline and online election activities, and the provision can be broadly interpreted to cover both offline and online campaign financing.

Accountability around Political Ads on social media platforms of Pakistani Political Actors leading to elections

The regulation of online and social media campaign financing is a relatively new and evolving area. While entities like Meta have implemented their own policies for political advertising, including background checks and transparency requirements in various countries, the ECP's policies do not explicitly address the specifics of online campaign financing or the regulation of political ads on social media networks.

Meta has made their ad library public and you can view the spending for political ads on DRF’s Election Desk website:

What to do on polling day?

DRF Election Desk brought people a guideline on what to do on election day - especially for first time voters the day before Pakistan’s General Elections.

  1. Check your polling station
  2. Go early
  3. Bring your original CNIC
  4. Main order and queue



Difference between our Cyber Harassment Helpline and WhatsApp Disinformation Tipline

DRF’s Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights (NWJDR) condemned the use of TFGBV and Gen AI to attack and silence women journalists

More than 60 journalists signed Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights (NWDJR)'s statement condemning the use of technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV) and Generative AI to attack and silence women journalists.

Read the full statement here:

WhatsApp Hacking Awareness Video

DRF has observed a spike in WhatsApp accounts getting hacked.  We shared an instructional video on how to avoid it.

You can watch it here:

Press Coverage:

How the Digital Rights Foundation Fights for Privacy and Better Internet Governance

Nighat Dad talked to XMTP and her insights offered an essential perspective on the role open and decentralized protocols play in countering the prevalent centralized models of data collection and ownership.

Read more:

Important Analysis of Nighat Dad on Legality of the Decision in Iddat Case

Nighat Dad spoke to Dawn News as a member of WAF (Women Action Forum) about the Iddat case and provided critical legal analysis.

More here:

Nighat spoke to DW Urdu about Pakistan’s General Elections and Internet shutdown

Nighat Dad spoke to DW Urdu and talked about how the use of the internet is also done to obtain information, so the shutdown of mobile and internet services on the day of general elections in Pakistan is a violation of the democratic and fundamental rights of citizens.

Watch here:

In this opinion piece, Nighat Dad discusses the prevalence of internet shutdowns during election cycles in Pakistan, highlighting their detrimental impact on society and the economy. She emphasizes how shutdowns hinder access to crucial information, disrupt economic activities, and impede democratic processes. Additionally, Nighat argues that internet shutdowns exacerbate tensions, restrict freedom of expression, and undermine trust in the democratic system. She calls for the government to refrain from shutting down the internet during elections, stressing the importance of maintaining an open and free internet for democratic participation and accountability.

More here:

Digital Campaigns

DRF’s Executive Director, Nighat Dad, penned an opinion piece where she talks about the lack of regulation and oversight by Election Commission of Pakistan on online political advertising.

Read here:

Data Privacy: Elections and Beyond

Zainab Durrani discusses the impact of technology on Pakistan's 2024 elections, highlighting concerns about deepfake disinformation and the use of voter data. She points out the lack of a national data protection framework, raising questions about the source and misuse of voter contact information. Durrani emphasizes the vulnerability of citizen data held by entities like NADRA and telecom providers, with documented breaches compromising privacy. She calls for amendments to proposed data protection laws and stresses the need for accountability in political campaigning practices. Additionally, she criticizes outdated election laws for failing to address digital campaigning methods, underscoring the importance of protecting privacy in democratic governance.

Read here:

DRF in the Press
The Friday Times Pakistan's Network Of Women Journalists For Digital Rights Demand Accountability And Support For Domestic
Medium Chapter I — How to prevent sexting abuse on WhatsApp in Pakistan?
Deccan Herald Feminists, women lawyers lash out at Pakistan judge for hurting woman's dignity in marriage case verdict
Ifex What’s new and old in 2024: Repressive laws, attacks, and election disinformation in Asia
The Current The ever-looming threat of disinformation in Pakistan
France24 Pakistan suspends mobile service for election day
Samaa TV HRCP demands immediate restoration of internet, mobile services across country
Barron's Pakistan Counts Ballots With Khan In Jail, Vote Marred By Mobile Outage NWJDR Condemns Online Attacks On Women Journalists In Pakistan
The Friday Times Technology-facilitated Gender-based Violence And Generative AI Used To Abuse Women Journalists
Dawn Online attacks on women journalists condemned
IFEX Pakistan Press Foundation condemns smear campaign against journalists in post-election turmoil
ERR Kaljulaid in Munich: EU's AI legal act best for global governance, minus fines Speculation Abounds As X Suspension In Pakistan Enters Third Day
Dawn X faces disruption for third consecutive day
Express Tribune X becomes govt's first target
Global Village Space X faces a nationwide shutdown amid political turmoil - Global Village Space
The News International X access restricted in Pakistan for seventh day
The News International X shutdown enters 7th day in Pakistan
Geo News X shutdown enters 8th day in Pakistan with VPN services also restricted
Times of India Social media platform 'X' shutdown continues for eighth day ..
Arab News Rights activists say free speech ‘critically under threat’ in Pakistan as X disruption enters eighth day
Bolly Inside Social Media Platform X Shutdown Continues for Eighth Day in Pakistan, Users Face Blackout
ANI Pakistan: Social media platform 'X' shutdown continues for eighth day Civil Society Condemns Ichhra Incident
KTN News HD Violence in the Digital World | Insight with Najia Mir


Global Symposium Technology Facilitated Gender Based Violence

DRF actively participated in this year’s virtual Global Symposium hosted by the UNFPA. On Day 1, Nighat Dad set the scene during Panel 1.1 ‘Now and the Future’, where she spoke about the regulatory gaps and challenges in addressing the intersection of artificial intelligence and online abuse, the lack of effective legal responses to the rise in the TFGBV, and the role that social media and tech platforms need to play in combating TFGBV. On Day 2, Hyra Basit was on the panel entitled ‘Responding to TFGBV’ where she highlighted the Cyber Harassment’s journey, its successes, and challenges.

Watch the entire panel here:

Striking the Right Balance: Moderating Online Content During 2024 Elections

The session explored important topics like misinformation, foreign interference, targeted advertising, and the role of algorithms in shaping user attitudes and behaviors. Nighat shared her insight about how with social media's influence on public opinion and elections worldwide, it is crucial to understand how to effectively manage these platforms for fairness and transparency in electoral processes.

Nighat Dad speaking at MobilinkHer Event

DRF’s Executive Director, Nighat Dad, shared her thoughts on #MobilinkHER - during Mobilink Bank's flagship women returnship program launch. She talked about the importance of creating a supportive & inclusive work environment that enables women to foster holistic economic development and bolster Pakistan’s economy.

APAC regional conversation and consultation

DRF briefed the Global Coalition for Tech Justice partners regarding the elections held on 8th February and around the findings of DRF’s election desk cell on the 21st of February. The consultation was DRF’s attempt to share best practices with partners around monitoring content on platforms in this election year of 2024.

Navigating Online Harms and Gendered Disinformation in Pakistan

DRF conducted a session at LUMS with the Saida Waheed Gender Initiative (SWGI) on  Navigating Online Harms and Gendered Disinformation in Pakistan. The session was facilitated by Seerat Khan and Danish Umar. DRF’s team went over the proliferation of gendered disinformation and how it contributes to the exacerbation of gender-based violence. The team also shared ways in which students can protect themselves online. and spot generative AI content.


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

DRF conducted a session on source verification and fact-checking in Islamabad with Meta's support, keeping in mind the upcoming general elections. The one day workshop addressed the emergence of disinformation and misinformation during elections and how to tackle and report dis/misinformation during this time and was attended by 31 journalists from Islamabad and adjacent areas.

Digital Literacy sessions in schools

This month DRF held four schools in Lahore with their Digital Citizens program. 735 students (females and males) and 44 teachers were informed about ways of staying safe in online spaces and reporting mechanisms in case of harassment or bullying. The participants were given gift bags with online safety resources and stationary.

Session:  Introducing all feminist Helplines

Anmol and Hyra participated in an online session on 29 Feb 2024, focused on introducing all the feminist helplines within their community. The session provided a platform for various helplines to present their work, emphasizing their roles in addressing gender-based violence. We have discussed and delved into the specifics of how helplines operate, including the processes involved in providing support and assistance to individuals facing gender-based violence. The session aimed to foster collaboration and mutual understanding among the different helplines, ultimately enhancing their collective efforts in combating gender-based violence within the community.

DRF Updates:

Cyber Harassment Helpline

The Cyber Harassment Helpline received 236, with 118 complaints by women. If you’re encountering a problem online, you can reach out to our helpline at 0800-39393, email us at [email protected] or reach out to us on our social media accounts. We’re available for assistance from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Sunday.

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.

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


Published by: Digital Rights Foundation in Newsletter

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