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. 11  November 2023 Edition

Produced by Freedom Network – 

SECTION 1: Internet and digital policies and regulations 

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

Jazz Pakistan invests over Rs20 billion in 2023 to improve connectivity

Date: November 21, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The Nation

Jazz invested Rs20.6 billion under its 4G-for-All initiative in the first nine months of calendar year 2023, bringing its overall investment in Pakistan to Rs10.6 billion. 

Government plans to transform optical fiber cable into global digital gateway

Date: November 23, 2023 – Source 1: Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), Source 2: The News

Caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif said the federal government had finalized a plan to transform Pakistan’s optical fiber cable network into a global digital gateway. 

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
  • Surveillance
  • Misinformation / disinformation / fake news
  • Cybercrime

Experts call for using predictive artificial intelligence cybersecurity to thwart attacks

Date: November 12, 2023 – Source: Dawn

Information technology (IT) experts at a conference in Karachi said that Pakistan was 20 years behind the world in digital security and it must move forward by using predictive artificial intelligence (AI) models to thwart attacks against public and private domains. 

Digitally inept

Date: November 12, 2023 – Source: Dawn

In this highly digitized world, the search for voter and supporters at mass political gatherings is futile. Voters and supporters are now sitting behind screens of their digital devices to raise political awareness. 

SECP signs MoU with FIA to curb digital fraud, enhance information sharing

Date: November 24, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Business Recorder (BR)

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formalize an information sharing mechanism to curb digital financial frauds in Pakistan. 

Pakistan calls for binding global framework on ethical artificial intelligence use

Date: November 25, 2023 – Source: Dawn

Foreign Secretary Syrus Qazi called for a binding global framework to guarantee the responsible use of predictive artificial intelligence and cyberspace and warned against unfair restrictions on developing countries’ access to emerging technologies. 

Employees of the National Assembly barred from creating YouTube channels

Date: November 26, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The National Assembly (NA) of Pakistan decided to prohibit its employees from creating content channels on YouTube, as well as using social media platforms during work hours. 

SECTION 4: Digitalization 

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

Digitalized judiciary

Date: November 20, 2023 – Source: The News

Digitalization of Pakistan’s judicial system can bridge the urban-rural divide, ensuring that justice is accessible to all citizens, regardless of their geographic location Virtual courts and e-filing systems can be established, allowing citizens in remote areas to participate in legal proceedings. 

Pakistan eyes $10 billion information technology exports in the next three years

Date: November 24, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Today, Source 3: Arab News

Caretaker Minister for Information technology and Telecommunications Dr Umar Saif unveiled Pakistan’s first information technology strategy, aiming to increase exports to $10 billion in the next three years. 


OBJECTIVESThis 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 SOURCESThis 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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