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April 5, 2018 - Comments Off on March 2018: Women’s March in Pakistan and the continuum of misogyny in online spaces

March 2018: Women’s March in Pakistan and the continuum of misogyny in online spaces

Man convicted in the first judgement under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA)

In an important decision, a Judicial Magistrate, Muhammad Amtiaz Bajwa of the District Courts, Lahore has convicted an offender under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA). Digital Rights Foundation has been advocating on the need for sound jurisprudence on issues of online harassment and cyber crimes in general. See the summary of the judgement by Zainab Durrani and Shmyla Khan here.

Aurat March backlash and the Continuum of misogyny from the street to Facebook Pages

Aurat March

We, at the Cyber Harassment Helpline, have seen a lot of cases of misogyny and gendered harassment of women in online spaces. However, after the deluge of complaints immediately in wake and directly related to the Aurat March, we saw a different kind of harassment take hold of online spaces. Several pages have been identified to us by complainants that have engaged in a concerted campaign to target those who attended the Aurat March, especially the women photographed with signs and posters. Women have been receiving death and rape threats, with their faces broadcast on social media. Read the blog by Hyra Basit here.

Cambridge Analytica and How to Secure Your Data


This weekend news broke that a data breach of 50 million Facebook profiles was used by the data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, to assist the Donald Trump campaign. The news is worrisome for several reasons, and it speaks to a problem that digital rights and privacy advocates have been advocating against for years--the need for stronger user data protections and accountability for social media companies. Read the blog by Shmyla Khan and Hamza Irshad here.

Nighat Dad speaks at TEDxLuziraPrison in Kampala, Uganda


Nighat Dad spoke at the TEDx organised in Luzira Prison in Kampala, Uganda. The event was attended by around 3000 inmates. Nighat spoke to the audience about how in the world with technological advancement, digital rights are as important for the people as their offline rights are and these rights should be seen collectively and equally. Nighat’s intervention was based on her own experiences as a woman from a conservative family who was barred from accessing the world in its entirety due to various influences rooted in patriarchal notions of the society. She emphasised that public spaces, both online and offline, are as much of women as anyone else’s, and acquiring these right shouldn’t be a struggle but should be granted by default.

Digital Rights Foundation receives I Am The Change (IATC) 2017 Award

Nighat Dad at IATC

Digital Rights Foundation receives the I Am The Change (IATC) 2017 Award by the Engro Foundation in the category of Social Development. IATC looks to empower organizations to make a large and sustainable impact in the social sector of Pakistan by aiding institutions that have joined forces in a relentless pursuit of shaping a better tomorrow, as they strive for change through long-term investments in the two areas of Social Development (in the case of Not-for-profit Organizations) and Social Enterprise.

At the awards ceremony that took place in Islamabad, Nighat Dad addressed the audience thanking Engro Foundation to acknowledge the efforts of civil society in protecting people's right to access the digital spaces. She added, "This award is not just for DRF but for all those people who believed in us and supported us all these years, for those women who took the abuse, fought against it, and came out stronger than ever. This award is for all those resilient people who are fighting their own battles and are defying the odds, and are telling the world that they can’t be confined anymore and that they are their own person and the world belongs to them as much as it belongs to anyone else."

Online Safety for Women and Children - A Session in collaboration with PK-NIC

Session with PK-NIC-01

Digital Rights Foundation and PKNIC collaborated for an awareness event that explored different issues of online safety, women’s rights online and digital rights. The event opened with a digital security training by the DRF team, followed by a presentation on sexual harassment in the workplace. The event concluded with a virtual lecture by Zahid Jamil on the cyber crime law. The event was attended by 35 participants.

PCSW: Power of Social Media, Digital Rights & Cyber Harassment

DRF conducted a session on Power of Social Media, Digital Rights and Cyber Harassment at the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women on the 7th of March. The session was part of 3 day Women Leadership Training with women degree colleges in all the districts of Punjab. The session had 136 women who shared their queries and concerns regarding cyber harassment and also discussed the avenues that the internet has to offer them.

Our Right to Safe Spaces Online - Iqra University, Karachi

DRF organised a session on data protection and privacy with the students of Iqra University, Karachi on March 29, 2018. The session focused on raising awareness around the laws and rights pertaining to data protection in specific and digital rights in general, while concluding the session with laws and tools to counter online harassment and how students can contribute in establishing “Hamara Internet” - an internet that is safe for everyone to access.

Digital Rights Foundation was at the Internet Freedom Festival 2018

IFF 2018

Digital Rights Foundation attended the 5th Annual Internet Freedom Festival held on March 5 through March 9, 2018 in Valencia, Spain. The festival addresses the issues pertaining to digital rights from around the world and seeks to formulate solutions as a community towards safe and inclusive online spaces. Here's the details of the panels that DRF hosted and was part of - a blog by Hyra Basit.

Review: NACTA introduces app “Chaukas” to counter hate speech

Chaukas 1

In a bid to fight hate speech and encourage civil society to step up and curb its spread, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) has created an app by the name of Chaukas. Zainab Durrani reviews the app for Digital Rights Foundation here.

DRF hosts a booth at Face Music Mela, Islamabad

The Cyber Harassment Helpline set up a booth on the campaign no means no at the Face Music Mela on the 24th and 25th of March in Islamabad. 500 people showed up at the booth to discuss their concerns on harassment and abuse in detail with our team.

The Judiciary and People's Political Rights - A Seminar organised by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)

The Seminar “THE JUDICIARY AND PEOPLE’S POLITICAL RIGHTS” which was held on Saturday the 10th of March at HRCP’s Dorab Patel Auditorium housed a crowd of approximately 60+ people and was moderated by lawyer and activist Asad Jamal and Salima Hashmi of the HRCP and called to speak members of the civil society and various authorities on the legal landscape and constitutional history of the country. Amongst them were Maryam Khan, an academic, eminent lawyer, Salman Akram Raja, (Ret) Justice Tariq Mehmood and the Dean of LUMS Law School, Dr.Martin Lau.

It commenced with a few opening remarks in remembrance of Asma Jahangir and her illustrious legacy by her daughter by Sulema Jahangir and moved on to discuss the legality and problematic nature of the Supreme Court’s 21st February, 2018 decision (the SC moved to disqualify former premier Nawaz Sharif from heading his political party, PML-N by striking out s.203 of the Election Act which allowed disqualified parliamentarians to be party leaders) and the tendency to make decisions as best suited the Court in terms of making a point, instead of what suited the interests of legal precedent and state, a contention argued by both Mr. Raja and Ms. Khan.

Published by: Digital Rights Foundation in Blog

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