DIGITAL PAKISTAN MONITOR – April 2020

DIGITAL PAKISTAN MONITOR

A monthly report on trends relating to digital rights, policies, practices & media

Tracking: Internet and digital policies and regulations

Digitalization in governance and socio-economic domains

Digital rights violations and protections

Digital rights advocacy and defense

Digital media and online free speech

Vol. 1, No. 4 April 2020 Edition

Produced by Freedom Network – www.fnpk.org

SECTION 1: Internet and digital policies and regulations

  • Federal and provincial governments (ministries and departments)
  • Internet regulators
  • Media regulators
  • Telecom regulators
  • Internet access / connectivity

Call for access to quality, affordable internet amid Covid-19 outbreak

Date: April 1, 2020 – Source: Dawn

In view of the rapid shift to digital services during the Covid-19 outbreak, the telecom industry, rights groups as well as students have urged the government to ensure access to quality and affordable internet for all.

Demand for free internet can lead to no internet

Date: April 2, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

At a time when some of the developed countries are facing a breakdown of their mobile networks due to excessive demand, people in Pakistan are calling for free internet and calls, which can result in no internet.

Digital divide and connectivity challenges

Date: April 3, 2020 – Source: The News

The idea of online learning for students currently unable to attend their institutions due to Covid-19 appears to be sensible. Why then are students in Balochistan, tribal areas and other remote locations protesting it? Because they are facing severe internet access and connectivity problems.

Tribal areas and the internet

Date: April 5, 2020 – Source: The News

After countless sacrifices of its people and as many operations, peace has finally returned to erstwhile Fata. Parliament passed the 25th Constitutional Amendment, by repealing the colonial era laws.

PTA asks internet providers to launch cheap packages during outbreak

Date: April 5, 2020 – Source: Dawn

As the internet use in the country has increased during the Covid-19 lockdowns, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has asked internet providers to offer affordable services to customers.

President for measures to enhance internet connectivity to facilitate students

Date: April 7, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Dawn

President Dr. Arif Alvi, in order to facilitate students and improve internet accessibility, has directed the relevant quarters to take necessary measures to enhance Internet connectivity, so that students could continue their education uninterrupted.

IT ministry drafts bill for personal data protection

Date: April 11, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

In today’s digital age, personal data has become an extremely valuable commodity and for many businesses the sole source of their income is the personal data of users they generate. Personal data is often collected, processed and even sold without the knowledge of the person it belongs to.

Government seeks consultation on data protection bill

Date: April 11, 2020 – Source: Dawn

A day after digital and human rights groups urged the government to protect the public’s right to privacy while adopting technological solutions to the Covid-19 outbreak, the authorities released a draft personal data protection bill for consultation.

Ministry of IT opens new draft legislation on data protection for public consultation

Date: April 14, 2020 – Source: Media Matters for Democracy

A new draft legislation, Personal Data Protection Bill, 2020, has been made available by Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication on its website. The ministry aims to “promote a broader collaborative process” and has invited stakeholders to submit input and feedback.

PTA provides facilitation to public to combat virus

Date: April 14, 2020 – Source: The News

In view of coronavirus pandemic and to provide immediate digital ease and facilitation to the public, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has taken some initiatives.

National communications strategy on combating Covid-19 to utilize digital media

Date: April 20, 2020 – Source: Dawn

With the month of Ramzan commencing, the role of national communications strategy for Covid-19 pandemic has become pivotal for containing the disease.

Why telecoms should receive financial comfort

Date: April 20, 2020 – Source: Dawn

All businesses across the country are going through a challenging time due to the outbreak of Covid-19 that has enhanced people’s awareness about e-commerce — online purchase of groceries in urban areas. The telecom companies should be supported to improve connectivity.

Rs92 million contract to Jazz to provide high-speed internet in Kurram

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: The News

The Universal Service Fund has awarded a contract worth Rs 92 million to Jazz to provide high-speed broadband in Kurram Lot (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).

Poor signals and internet access hampering education in tribal areas

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: The News

The Higher Education Commission has quickly switched to online learning for the millions of students enrolled at private and public-sector universities around the country.

South Waziristan students provided free internet

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Students in South Waziristan tribal district have been provided the internet facility for the first time, district administration officials and locals say.

Islamabad High Court directs PTA to provide 3G, 4G internet services in tribal districts

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The Islamabad High Court has directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to provide 3G and 4G services in tribal districts for online classes so that students may not miss their academic year due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown and submit a report before the next date of hearing.

Supreme Court allows suspension of cellular services

Date: April 23, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The Supreme Court has set aside an Islamabad High Court 2018 order that declared that government could not suspend mobile phone services on the pretext of public safety.

Pakistan first to get G4 rank in South Asia

Date: April 24, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Pakistan has been ranked as a 4th Generation Regulator (G4) by the International Tele­communication Union, becoming the only country in South Asia to have achieved the status.

Government devises new policy for digital and social media

Date: April 25, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government had devised a new digital and social media policy. She said a special quota of advertisement was being allocated for digital media would be registered with the Press Information Department.

Islamabad High Court expects urgent steps for internet provision

Date: April 29, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The Islamabad High Court has said it expects the government to take measures at the earliest to provide the internet facility to the residents of erstwhile Federal Administered Tribal Areas.

Government seeks time to restore internet in tribal districts

Date: April 29, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The interior ministry has told the Islamabad High Court that the government was willing to restore 3G/ 4G broadband service in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas but sought time to reconnect the tribal districts with the internet.

SECTION 2: Digital rights advocacy and defense

  • Pakistan-based citizens and civil society organizations
  • Independent international digital rights organizations
  • UN and global multilateral organizations
  • Governmental and other sources

Statement: Govt should avoid reliance on digital surveillance technologies in combating Covid-19

Date: April 8, 2020 – Source: Media Matters for Democracy

Governments across the world have started relying on a mass surveillance regime to combat Covid-19. Pakistan is no different. While technology offers immense potential to contain Covid-19, government should clearly define scope of tech-based solutions in the process of being adopted.

Statement: Excessive usage of digital surveillance and lack of data protection amid Covid-19

Date: April 9, 2020 – Source: Media Matters for Democracy

We are concerned about the government relying on invasive measures to combat Covid-19. We request that the Pakistani government authorities clearly define the scope of the usage of technological solutions that they are in the process of adopting.

Statement: Safety of journalists and access to information during Covid-19 crisis

Date: April 17, 2020 – Source: Digital Rights Foundation

In light of the Covid-19 situation, several groups and individuals are calling on all states to protect journalists’ and media workers’ safety, safeguard a free and independent media and ensure unhindered access to information, both online and offline.

SECTION 3: Digital rights violations and protections

  • Citizens and netizens – including case studies
  • Media, journalists and other information practitioners
  • Online free speech
  • Online access to information
  • Privacy violations
  • Data protection
  • Surveillance
  • Misinformation / disinformation / fake news
  • Cybercrime

Pakistan: Responding to Covid-19 media coverage challenges with digital innovation

Date: April 3, 2020 – Source: International Media Support (IMS)

Reporting on the coronavirus in one of the most press restrictive environments in the world is a challenge – but also creates new opportunities in local media, especially digital media in Pakistan.

Family shocked by ‘fake’ death news

Date: April 5, 2020 – Source: Dawn

A family here was left to deal with trauma after one of its members who had just passed away was allegedly falsely declared by a television channel to have died of coronavirus.

PM asks people to pay no heed to online rumors

Date: April 5, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday urged citizens to not pay any heed to social media rumors about Covid-19 and stressed the need for taking precautionary measures against the rapidly spreading disease.

Digital pandemic: cybercrime

Date: April 6, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

For one group, Covid-19 came as good news. The cybercriminals celebrated it and were perhaps even waiting for the world to make the societal shift online – unprepared and unguarded. From hacking critical information to private meetings, we have seen cyber assault headlines in the past few weeks.

A week of false news around corona on social media

Date: April 12, 2020 – Source: The News

A roundup of some of the most popular but untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media, reported international news agency.

Online campaign against Supreme Court judges to be probed

Date: April 16, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The prime minister has ordered Federal Investigation Agency to launch an inquiry against people responsible for running a social media campaign against the country’s top judge and other members of the superior judiciary after the apex court took suo moto against the government’s Covid-19 strategy.

The fake news epidemic

Date: April 19, 2020 – Source: The News

In recent years technology has undergone a radical shift. The way we receive, consume and share information has also changed. This includes the growing phenomenon of news that is not verified and intendedly or unintentionally fake.

Muddled messaging and communications during a pandemic

Date: April 19, 2020 – Source: The News

Communication of the crisis response is a key metric in evaluating leadership. But making matters worse in terms of an effective crisis response narrative is the government’s continuing policy of stifling the media, clamping on freedom of expression, and closing of spaces for civil society, including internet.

Amidst Covid-19, protect and support journalists

Date: April 20, 2020 – Source: Dawn

There should be no media censorship. The government should support quality reportage by making information — and protective equipment — available to journalists. Let us reframe journalists from anti-state whistleblowers into vital data gatherers.

‘Beware of cyber criminals’ on internet

Date: April 20, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

In view of the rise in crime rate on the internet during the virus-induced lockdown, the Federal Investigation Agency has issued an advisory for the parents of the young children to be cautious of cyberattacks.

Man booked for displaying arms on social media

Date: April 22, 2020 – Source: The News

Rawalpindi Police has arrested a man for displaying arms on social media and recovered a Kalashnikov and ammunition from his possession.

Facebook bans adverts of virus-related products in Pakistan

Date: April 23, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Facebook has banned advertisements of coronavirus related products on its platform in order to avoid possible manipulations by mischievous elements.

Data secrecy of 12 million beneficiaries of Rs144 billion assistance exposed

Date: April 24, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Cabinet members have shown concerns regarding secrecy of data of Ehsaas Program beneficiaries and spending Rs300 million on communication strategies given that a substantial amount has already been disbursed to relevant departments.

Federal authorities put on notice for reported data breach of 115 million mobile phone users

Date: April 24, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Chairman of the Senate Standing Com­mittee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik has directed the Federal Investigation Agency to probe reports about data breach involving sale of data of 115 million Pakistanis on darknet.

Special Assistant to PM refuses to share data with Federal cabinet

Date: April 25, 2020 – Source: The News

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar has refused to share data of Ehsaas Program beneficiaries with the federal cabinet citing legal restraints that protect anonymity of such data.

Federal Investigation Agency busts six gangs of cyber conmen

Date: April 26, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes of the Federal Investigation Agency has busted six gangs of online conmen were depriving Pakistani citizens of their money by promising them millions of dollars in return.

Public perceptions about media coverage of equality, justice and human rights in Pakistan

Date: April 2020 – Source: Gallup Pakistan

The results of this survey reveal public opinion is split between whether media is giving required amount of attention to human rights issues or not. It also reveals a 17% increase in the proportion of Pakistanis who believe that media programs promote freedom of expression.

SECTION 4: Digitalization

  • Digitalization in governance sectors / e-governance
  • Digitalization in social and development sectors
  • Digitalization in business and commercial sectors

School children to get free resources for online learning

Date: April 1, 2020 – Source: The News

Pakistan’s domestic digital and innovative learning industry has come together to offer FREE internet-based education products and services to students, teachers and schools during the current COVID-19 epidemic to combat the educational disruption, says a press release.

HEC to inspect content of online lectures by varsities

Date: April 1, 2020 – Source: Dawn

In response to complaints regarding online classes in some universities the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Tuesday asked for information on these courses to inspect the quality of the content, delivery and connectivity.

Virtual reality helps cope with Covid-19

Date: April 1, 2020 – Source: Dawn

It used to be a distraction from our ‘real’ lives. Articles and essays bemoaning the time we spent on the internet were cause for mourning. People decried the corrosive effects of social media, its ability to create enmities and jealousies, false truths and fake lives.

Education ministry, PTV sign agreement to launch TeleSchool

Date: April 2, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The education ministry on Wednesday signed an agreement with Pakistan Television to launch a TV channel — Tele School — as an alternative to educational content delivery mechanism during closure of educational institution in the wake of coronavirus.

Online learning – challenges

Date: April 3, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Universities, which were in the middle of the spring semester when the orders for closure were announced, have been told to remain shut until May 31. It has raised significant questions for universities to consider.

Digital help from Google with healthcare

Date: April 6, 2020 – Source: Dawn

As Covid-19 challenges test limits of healthcare infrastructure, tech giants like Google have rolled out new features with the aim of helping both citizens and governments. Google’s efforts include a crucial SOS Alert that connects people with the latest news and safety tips from the World Health Organization.

Online literary activities, poetic sessions planned

Date: April 7, 2020 – Source: The News

Amid the environment of physical distancing owing to the threat of coronavirus when there is a halt to all physical gatherings, Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) has planned to continue its literary activities and sittings through online sessions.

Flaws may mar newly implemented e-transfer policy for teachers

Date: April 9, 2020 – Source: The News

Amid reported flaws and shortcomings in the recently promulgated e-transfer policy for teachers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the elementary and secondary education department is about to issue online transfers of nearly 2,000 teachers.

Pakistan television may start TeleSchool

Date: April 9, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood Wednesday announced that state run Pakistan Television (PTV) is likely to start broadcasting distance learning classes through Tele School channel for students of Grade 1 to 12 from next week.

Lockdown perfect time for e-governance structure

Date: April 10, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing many departments, businesses and other industries to shift to a ‘work-from-home’ scenario, this is the perfect time for implementing e-governance structures with a worst-case scenario is likely to completely upset the entire country.

The upside of Covid-19: a more functionally digital Pakistan

Date: April 12, 2020 – Source: Arab News

Whether it is measured by how the public or private sector has responded to the Covid-19 crisis, or how citizens have virtualized their homes to stay connected with their work and personal lives – digitalization is now the byte-shaped heart of an evolving Pakistani social fabric.

Speaker allows NA committees’ meetings through video link

Date: April 12, 2020 – Source: Dawn

One month after cancelling all meetings of the National Assembly committees amid criticism from opposition parties and other sources for making parliament redundant during the coronavirus crisis, Speaker Asad Qaiser has allowed holding of meetings of the committees through video link.

Why online education?

Date: April 13, 2020 – Source: Dawn

These are perilous times. Schooling is disrupted. But we don’t have to wait for the war against Covid-19 to end to restart education. Online education is the answer.

Video conferencing being tested by parliamentarians

Date: April 18, 2020 – Source: The News

Even before amending the rules, the National Assembly standing committees have decided to hold meetings through videoconferencing given the peril of COVID-19 pandemic spread.

Covid-19 and education response

Date: April 18, 2020 – Source: The News

Across the world, nearly two billion students are suddenly not in their formal educational institutions. Shocked, the globe struggles with Zoom and Google Classroom to keep children and young adults learning.

Digital in-house diplomacy: Qureshi launches ‘FM Direct’ amid Covid-19

Date: April 18, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday launched ‘FM Direct’ — a mobile application for a direct digital connection between him and all officers of his ministry.

Meeting on virtual session of National Assembly summoned

Date: April 19, 2020 – Source: The News

The first meeting of the committee on virtual session of National Assembly will be held on April 21 to suggest amendments in the rules of procedure and conduct of business in the National Assembly 2007, for holding virtual session of the Assembly.

Pakistan’s first ever e-Olympiad starts

Date: April 19, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Air University, in order to eradicate the confines of quarantined minds of youth through promoting ‘e-edutainment’ has announced to organize Pakistan’s first-ever and the biggest e-Olympiad ‘Air e-Nexus’20’, said a press release on Saturday.

Digital businesses: start-ups explore new services to stay afloat

Date: April 19, 2020 – Source: Dawn

With the continuous rise in coronavirus across the world, business activity has already taken one of the worst hits in decades, as projections suggest that it might be even scarier than the Great Depression. Apart from a few countercyclical sectors, demand in most has already shown a sharp decline.

Improving e-governance through National Telecommunications Corporation

Date: April 20, 2020 – Source: The News

National Telecommunication Corporation, a government autonomous body under Ministry of IT saved federal government from bulk of the problems by providing safe and secure ICT services through National Data Centre (NDC) after COVID-19 breakout.

Amid social distancing, National Assembly mulls going virtual

Date: April 20, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

As coronavirus restricts social life, Pakistan’s political leaders, like everyone else, have been forced to adapt. As governance and legislative activities cannot be placed on an indefinite hiatus, the National Assembly has formed a committee to figure out how ‘virtual’ assembly sessions can be convened.

Govt, Google to launch program for kids

Date: April 20, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication is working with Google to launch a grassroots program that will equip children with information technology skills and help develop applied coding techniques.

National opinion poll on support and opposition for online information

Date: April 2020 – Source: Gallup Pakistan

This poll produces data on support and opposition for online education during Coronavirus lockdown; connectivity conditions during remote education; and space conditions during remote education.

Towards a STEM revolution

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: The News

The novel coronavirus may have forced Pakistan’s schools to temporarily close, but when they re-open we can be certain that science and technology learning will be firmly back on the government’s education agenda as it seeks to build an internationally competitive knowledge economy.

Pakistan National Council of the Arts organizes online music concerts

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: The News

In the backdrop of Coronavirus and requirements for social distancing, the Pakistan National Council of the Arts has organized a series of online music concerts to support musicians. The council has started live e-concerts of folk and classical artists.

Pakistan Academy of Letters online Iqbal seminar

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: The News

The Pakistan Academy of Letters is organizing an online national Iqbal seminar, says a press release.

Free online technical training planned

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: The News

The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission in collaboration with the Kamyab Jawan Startup Pakistan has arranged a free online entrepreneurship training program for students to make the best use of their time during the coronavirus lockdown.

Is e-learning the inevitable future?

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: The News

According to UNESCO, nationwide closures have impacted 89 per cent of the world’s student population. On the spur of the moment, nothing made more sense than to close and switch to or adopt e-learning or online learning on a war footing.

TeleSchool get warm response

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The government’s distance learning television channel, TeleSchool, has received tremendous response from parents and students across the country in its first week.

Online Ramazan shopping in times of Covid-19

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

With major markets closed due to the lockdown, imposed to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, many businesses dealing in non-essential items such as apparels and accessories have shifted to selling their products online.

Technology being used to curtail access to reproductive health: report

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Opponents of reproductive health around the world are developing and promoting digital tools and tactics that attempt to curtail the ability of people to exercise their reproductive rights, reveals a report issued by the Privacy International (PI).

Health startups see demand surge

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: Dawn

While many businesses in the country are facing crises amid the ongoing lockdowns, startups within the health space have seen a different response altogether.

Bilawal Bhutto conducts party politics digitally

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: Dawn

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari presided over a party meeting at Zardari House on Monday to discuss the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country and the strategy and mechanism for the upcoming session of parliament, particularly the budget session.

Online program to benefit entrepreneurs

Date: April 21, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Focal person on Startup Pakistan Shahzad Gul said the free online entrepreneurship training program is aimed at providing direction, support and an enabling environment to the citizens and private sectors to implement training for skill development to enhance social and economic development.

Pakistan Muslim League-N rejects virtual session of National Assembly

Date: April 22, 2020 – Source: The News

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz while rejecting the proposal of holding a virtual session of the National Assembly, has called such efforts as undemocratic and violation of the Constitution.

Rawalpindi businesses go online

Date: April 22, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Several greengrocers, fruit sellers, departmental and medical stores in Rawalpindi are now using digital platforms to enhance their sales during the lockdown.

Folk singer Zarsanga enthralls online audience

Date: April 22, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

To continue its mission of promoting folk culture while observing safety measures and lockdown imposed by the government to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Pakistan National Council of the Arts on organized an online concert of famous Pashto folk singer Zarsanga.

Virtual diplomacy key to tackling Covid-19

Date: April 22, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Ambassador (retired) Syed Abrar Hussain has suggested that diplomatic practices will change significantly in the post-pandemic world where online meetings, discussions and deliberations will become a norm.

Google provides free space for public education

Date: April 22, 2020 – Source: The News

The Ministry of National Health Services has entered in a partnership with Google to deliver critical information to Pakistanis on how to prevent and cope with the spread of Covid-19.

Online conference organized to discuss impacts of coronavirus on agriculture sector

Date: April 22, 2020 – Source: The News

Center for Global and Strategic Studies organized an online conference to discuss impacts of ongoing novel coronavirus on Pakistan’s agriculture sector.

Parliament’s virtual session not workable: Senate panel

Date: April 23, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

A Senate panel on Wednesday called for summoning the parliament – after taking necessary precautions – to take stock of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. However, it observed that the parliament’s virtual session is not warranted by the Constitution and relevant rules at present.

National Assembly panel to seek MPs’ input for virtual session

Date: April 22, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The National Assembly’s Special Committee on Virtual Session has decided to invite the parliamentary leaders to discuss the mechanics for convening the session of the lower house.

Wikipedia breaks five-year record with high traffic in pandemic

Date: April 23, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Wikipedia traffic in Pakistan has witnessed record growth given rise in public interest in accessing Covid-19 information. The website’s reach is suggested to be ten times more than World Health Organizations official website.

Customers learn true ‘cost’ of online shopping

Date: April 23, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Even though the district administration has deployed price magistrates across the district, stores which have been selling daily-use items online with home delivery have started charging a ‘premium’ over and beyond the regular price of these items.

Digital diplomacy: Pakistan holds virtual summit of South Asian health ministers

Date: April 24, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Pakistan has sought the revival of the South Asian Association for Regional Corporation’s Technical Committee on Health. The proposal was part of a host of measures suggested by Dr Zafar Mirza, the de facto health minister, while hosting a video conference of South Asian health ministers.

Telecom executives meet Finance Adviser

Date: April 24, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez has assured telecom companies of his full support and cooperation for the resolution of issues faced by the sector. The minister chaired a meeting with chief executive officers of major cellular companies to discuss and review issues.

Pakistan launches virtual appeal for $595 million funding to meet pandemic challenges

Date: April 24, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, while speaking at the virtual launch, said Pakistan was requesting its bilateral and multilateral partners to help it strengthen its healthcare infrastructure and create a fiscal space to deal with the challenge and implications.

Universities told to ensure readiness for online classes

Date: April 24, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Tariq Binori has stressed the need for immediate measures on part of universities to ensure readiness for online classes.

National Assembly body on virtual session invites parliamentary leaders for meeting

Date: April 25, 2020 – Source: The News

Chairman of the committee on virtual session of the National Assembly Syed Fakhar Imran has invited parliamentary leaders for a meeting in the Parliament House.

Video-link budget proposals session held by Federal Board of Revenue

Date: April 29, 2020 – Source: The News

A special video link session between Federal Board of Revenue and Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry was held in Rawalpindi to discuss budget proposals for the year 2020-2021.

Tele-counselling service launched by government

Date: April 26, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The Sindh government has launched a tele-counselling service for confirmed and suspected Covid-19 patients to help them cope with the psychological impact of coronavirus pandemic.

Online lecture on project management organized by The Institution of Engineers

Date: April 27, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The Institution of Engineers, Rawalpindi-Islamabad Centre (IEP-RIC) has decided to hold its regular lecture series online in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Former Senate Chairman opposes holding virtual parliament session

Date: April 27, 2020 – Source: The News

Former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani has opposed the proposal of holding a virtual session of parliament, saying that it would have serious political, legal, and constitutional ramifications and will make the parliament dysfunctional.

The tele-workable jobs landscape in Pakistan

Date: April 27, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Tech evangelists have started preaching the virtues of technology: how it could save the world, how it is inherently well-suited for social-distancing measures, and how online jobs can become a source of innovative revenue stream.

Construction workers: left in the lurch due to digital database inadequacy

Date: April 27, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Reaching out to four million vulnerable daily wagers will be a challenging task as they are not registered in social protection databases.

Indigenous technological solutions to Covid-19 sought

Date: April 29, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Experts have urged that, as the country uses technology to track Covid-19 cases, indigenous technological solutions should be found to our problems while it should also be used to help alleviate the miseries of the underprivileged.

Government announces online portal in Covid-19 aid package

Date: April 28, 2020 – Source: The News

The federal government has announced a relief package of Rs125 billion for small industries and daily workers amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Ministries for Industries and Production is working with the Ehsaas team to launch an online portal where people could apply for the program.

Sindh government give conditional permission to start online businesses

Date: April 28, 2020 – Source: The News

The provincial government has given conditional permission to start online businesses as the lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus continues to remain in effect.

Pakistan’s women riding a digital wave in drive for better jobs

Date: April 29, 2020 – Source: Dawn

An increasing number of Pakistani women are signing up for tech program called TechKaro, an initiative by Circle, a social enterprise that aims to improve women’s economic rights in Pakistan.

____________________________________________________________

OBJECTIVES: This series of monthly report aims to:

  • Track developments revolving around the framework of digitalization in Pakistan including policy and advocacy on digital rights, policy enforcements and digital rights violations, covering viewpoints of government, civil society, human rights community including digital rights campaigners, media, citizen journalists and other information practitioners, and regulators of electronic media, internet and telecom sectors, and netizens.
  • Monitor the interface between digital rights and Pakistan’s overall legal framework and how developments around them impact freedom of expression and access to information online as well as diversity and pluralism in Pakistan’s digital landscape, cyberspace and internet domains.
  • Follow developments around the themes of digital rights, freedom of expression, access to information, privacy, surveillance, data protection, access to internet services, telecom policies, etc.

 

INFORMATION SOURCES: This report monitors, among others, the following sources of information:

  • Government: Federal and provincial cabinets
  • Ministries: Related ministries, including Information and Broadcasting, Information Technology (IT) and Telecom, Human Rights, Science and Technology, Commerce and Industry, etc.
  • Legislatures: Senate, National Assembly, provincial assemblies, relevant standing committees
  • Regulators: Pakistan telecommunications Authority (PTA), Pakistan Electronic Media regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Press Council of Pakistan (PPC), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), etc.
  • Global organizations: UN/Unesco, International Media Support (IMS), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), etc.
  • National organizations: Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), BoloBhi, Media Matters for Democracy (MMFD), Institute for Research, Advocacy and Development (IRADA), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), etc.
  • Media: Dawn, The News, Express Tribune, The Nation, Pakistan Today, The Friday Times, etc.
  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Local networks: Journalists Safety Hubs Network, Alliance on Diversity & Pluralism in Media, etc.
  • Research groups: Gallup Pakistan, IPSOS Pakistan, etc.

 

 

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