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Women more prone to online hate speech

LAHORE: A highly informative session titled, ‘Hate speech and disinformation’ attracted a good number of audiences at the Asma Jahangir Conference held at a hotel on Egerton Road on Sunday.

The session was moderated by Usama Khilji, Director of Bolo Bhi, had Nighat Dad, Executive Director of the Digital Rights Foundation, Frederick Rawsaki, head of Human Rights Policy Meta (joined online), and Mahmood ur Rehman, Deputy Director, FIA’s Cybercrime Wing, as panelists.

Mr Khilji, in his opening remarks, observed that young women are more susceptible to hate speech online.

Nighat Dad, with regard to yesterday’s incident at the conference, said protest was young people’s fundamental right, and it is the responsibility of those in power to listen to them. “I would like to condemn what happened, the organizers should not have thrown out those young people and the German ambassador should not have demanded they keep quiet.

“There are proper groups that run targeted disinformation campaigns to build certain narratives,” says Dad.

She says that for the ban on X in Pakistan, the excuse was being given that it was in the same vein as the US ban on TikTok. “Why copy and paste terrible parts of laws, why not look at the rule of law in the country we are copying and pasting laws from?” she demands.

She said there was no structure to regulate digital media. Referring to X, she said a platform was totally banned and the authorities concerned were ignoring court orders in this regard. Nobody knows who is controlling or regulating the digital media, she added.

Frederick Rawski said that Meta’s human rights policy is rather new, introduced in 2021. And while no human rights policy is perfect, Meta has done its utmost to inculcate a robust, comprehensive policy, he said.