DIGITAL PAKISTAN MONITOR – June 2023
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. 3, No. 6 – June 2023 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
Date: June 13, 2023 – Source: The News
The federal government issued a framework to formulate a new policy for the expansion of Pakistan’s information technology (IT) and telecommunication sectors, for which all the stakeholders have been asked to submit recommendations.
Date: June 21, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
South Waziristan – a region affected by terrorism and security issues is now facing a new set of obstacles in its path to progress. The absence of internet and cellular services has not only impeded development in the region but hindered the work of journalists.
Date: June 21, 2023 – Source: Associated Press of Pakistan (APP)
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) formed committees to ensure the inclusion of website television (web TVs) and over-the-top (OTT) content services under the ambit of broadcast media services.
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
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
- Misinformation / disinformation / fake news
UK police arrest Pakistani social media activist on ‘incitement to violence’ charges
Social media activist and YouTube content creator Adil Raja was released on police bail after he was arrested by the United Kingdom police on suspicions of encouraging acts of terrorism inside Pakistan.
Date: June 21, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) released guidelines highlighting the safe and responsible use of social media due to its increasing popularity and the potential risks it poses to public convenience.
PEMRA to launch crackdown on digital OTT platforms
Date: June 22, 2023 – Source: Dawn
Cable Operators Association of Pakistan Chairman Khalid Arain claimed that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) plans to crackdown on over-the-top (OTT) platforms to ensure their inclusion under the ambit of regularized broadband media services.
Date: June 28, 2023 – Source: Dawn
Hinting at the possibility of blocking social media networks if the need arises, Federal Minister for Defense Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that the seeds of violence perpetrated on May 9 were planted using social media.
SECTION 4: Digitalization
- Digitalization in governance sectors / e-governance
- Digitalization in social and development sectors
- Digitalization in business and commercial sectors
Date: June 5, 2023 – Source: The News
The telecommunication industry needs to be acknowledged as the enabler of progress and the taxation issues in the telecommunication sector require a review in the same light, bringing it to its full potential and enabling it to effectively cater to the needs of Pakistan’s digital and economic growth.
Date: June 7, 2023 – Source: The News
Pakistan’s information technology (IT) and telecommunication sectors asked the federal government to reduce the tax burden, rationalize restrictions on imports, retention of 100 per cent for use of foreign exchange and tax exemption regime in the proposed budget for 2023-2024.
Date: June 9, 2023 – Source: Dawn
Pakistan’s telecommunication sector remained a significant source of revenue generation for the national exchequer contributing Rs327 billion in the outgoing fiscal year. However, economic slowdown and increased operational costs resulted in the slower expansion of the cellular mobile sector.
Date: June 14, 2023 – Source: The News
Pakistan’s road to artificial intelligence (AI) is paved with unprecedented opportunities and formidable challenges. The country needs a multi-stakeholder approach involving the government, industry, academia and civil society for progress in this domain.
Date: June 24, 2023 – Source: The News
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) granted Pakistani social media influencer and Fizza Khan, also known as Love Khaani, a golden visa valid for ten years in recognition of her dedication to creative content creation.
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.