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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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:



Published by: Digital Rights Foundation in Newsletter

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