Speakers highlight pros and cons of social media – OCTOBER 21, 2019


LAHORE: Speakers at a seminar said social media trolls are busy discrediting and putting women down, and acknowledged vulnerability of all others owing to lack of online protection.

“Truth filters should be placed on social media,” suggested columnist and author Aisha Sarwari while speaking in a session on ‘The Role of Social Media’ at Asma Jahangir Conference. She said the existing laws represented how men saw the world.

Columnist and TV show host Wusatullah Khan said technology was a two-edged sword and the government used it to “digitally chain” individuals carrying a mobile phone. He urged the government to inform journalists and other people why they were being punished before penalising them. “The all-powerful governments must heed to this innocent demand,” he urged.

Novelist and journalist Muhammad Hanif said the youth needed to be guided on how to tweet. He pointed out officials of security institutions for tweeting as late as 3am, saying: “We should take a break some time.”

Freedom Network Executive Director Iqbal Khattak said more and more journalists being censored on mainstream media were now shifting to social media and named Talat Hussain, Matiullah Jan and Rauf Klasra. “The information on social media channels of journalists is not available on mainstream media,” he added.

Mr Khattak stressed that journalists should use virtual private network to stay safe. “If you are not digitally safe, you compromise your physical safety,” he said. “Online is the future.”

Netherlands Human Rights Ambassador Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie acknowledged the good work of digital safety training to journalists in Pakistan. “We should stand up for journalists and create more safe spaces.”

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2019