What is Report for Digital Rights?
We are living in a digital world where there isn’t a distinction between digital rights and human rights. Issues relating to digital rights are making headlines across the world. Internet is a global top story. In Pakistan however, things are a little different. Digital rights, or the violations of thereof, hardly make the news. Leave a handful of English language newspapers, the news about digital rights often stay under the mainstream media’s radar. Naturally when these issues, such as the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes in dealing with revenge porn, or inane security compliance of the ‘Captains’ of famous ride-hailing services don’t get reported, they fail to attract the attention of legislators, policymakers and most times even the law enforcement or compliance agencies. Whatever does get reported, is mostly lost in a sea of daily news items. As a result, we see digital rights being pushed way down on the agenda both in the national narratives and political debates.
Through ‘Report Digital Rights’ Media Matters for Democracy aims to improve the reporting of digital rights and internet governance issues through constant engagement with media outlets and journalists, training beat reporters on internet governance and digital rights issues, and most importantly generating journalistic content through an in-house team of journalists. We strongly believe that only by making digital rights, or the violations thereof, a truly national debate, and a part of national political agenda, can they be secured for the citizens at the grassroots of our society.
Let the challenge begin!
Under our initiative ‘Report Digital Rights’, we are taking following key actions:
1. Producing a field guide for journalists, to be used a reference point for understanding digital rights and internet governance issues in Pakistan. Titled ‘Understanding Internet Rights’ — a field guide for reporters in Pakistan — is to give Pakistani field reporters a crash course on the legal frameworks that govern cyberspace in Pakistan, lowdown on relevant laws and policies and how they interact with civil liberties and a list of online resource material for a deeper knowledge of these issues. For a digital copy of the field guide please click the image below.
2. Identifying, interfacing and training journalists and anchorpersons from mainstream media outlets in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad to enhance their understanding of digital rights and internet governance.
3. Generating original and exclusive news content around digital rights issues which either remain under the media’s radar due to various commercial conflict of interests (such as news about big telcos, or service providers) or simply aren’t covered. This news content is being produced by an in-house team of journalists at MMfD and includes exclusive interviews, news stories and data and investigative stories.
4. Curating the news content being generated by various news outlets and hosting them on an online platform, essentially to develop it as a resource for journalists and civil society advocates.
5. Launching www.digitalrightsmonitor.pk where all of this content will be hosted. The portal in addition to news content will also host various online resources, documents, copies of legislations, information about parliamentary committee dealing with various cyberspace issues and other related information to assist journalists in putting together better news content on digital rights.
6. Launching Digital Rights Monitor, a monthly digital publication to sum-up the state of affairs of digital rights in Pakistan on a monthly basis.
7. Most importantly, we are going to all major public and private universities in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi — all the media hubs — to talk to journalism students, the future journalists, and make them a part of digital rights and Internet governance debate in Pakistan.
A Twitter-based helpline for questions answering questions regarding digital rights
Most importantly under ‘Report for Digital Rights’ we are establishing a Twitter-based helpline for journalists and anchorpersons to shoot questions related to internet governance, laws and policies that govern Pakistan’s cyber-space and digital rights. To ask a question, simply type a tweet, tag @mmfd_pak and send to #ReportDigitalRights. From anything to the number of internet shutdowns in Pakistan in a year, to a particular clause of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016, our team will respond back with a comprehensive answer very quickly. Don’t forget to tag @mmfd_pak.
Give it a try. Ask us a question!
Contact the good people running ‘Report for Digital Rights’
Are you a journalist working a digital rights story? Do you need assistance in breaking down digital rights issues? Get in touch. We are happy to help!