“Covert spying on individuals is being carried out by United States

ISLAMABAD ( BMZ REPORT )

The participants of Pakistan Cyberspace Conference on 2nd day expressed their strong intentions to work collaboratively for bringing a transparent and effective legislation on Cyber Crimes.

The second day of the conference began with the session on Cyber Crime Legislation in Pakistan: Progress and Problems which was attended by Member National Assembly, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Arif Alvi, Barrister Zahid Jamil, Director Center for Internet and Human Right at European University Dr. Ben Wagner and activist Gul Bukhari.

Dr. Arif Alvi, talking about the surveillance issues said that even leading democracies in the world are lacking the moral ethics when comes to privacy. “Covert spying on individuals is being carried out by countries like the United States and others”: Alvi said, regretting that none of the these democracies were taking care for the rights and ethics
that already existed.

Highlighting the discrepancies in the system and inability of the legislators in the country, Arif Alvi said that parliamentarians and judiciary are not aware about the emails and how it functions. “Hardly one or two percent parliamentarians know about email and until recently, I was not allowed to take my laptop on the floor of the National Assembly”: Alvi told the conference. He lamented when understanding with cyber technology is that limited in our legislators, how one could expect a fair and transparent legislation from them.

Lauding the role of civil society, Alvi expressed his optimism for an effective legislation on Cyber Crimes and called upon all the relevant stakeholders to work on an effective bill that addresses the issues of the masses and assures their security as well.

The session on Media and Internet: Opportunities and Obstacles focused on internet journalism in Pakistan, especially in the regional context. Project Director Pak Voices Fahad Desmukh said that with internet, the cost of publishing has really come down, and voices of ordinary people reach to larger audiences. “Focus of Pak Voices is to develop locally
generated content for the regional publics”: Desmukh added.
Editor Pamir Times Noor Muhammad highlighted his team’s work and said that for now they might not be paying the irvolunteers, but they are transferring the skills and knowledge to them, which is more sustainable. “Whatever we are doing is based on impartiality, inclusiveness of all segments of the regional society, and innovation”: Noor said, adding that we have been experimenting constantly on our news portal, and launched it in regional languages too.

Asad Hasim, online journalist with Al-Jazeera in Pakistan, said that journalists in Pakistan are not using internet for research purposes. “Still journalism in Pakistan is more source based and traditional methods are preferred”: Asad said adding that internet has empowered us to encourage people to give their version of the story, which is something beyond traditional journalism. He urged the journalists to use internet for research and developing internet based stories from the
material available online. “We need to convince journalists by showing the positive aspects of cyberspace, so they could incorporate internet in their journalism”: he added.

The conference concluded on a positive note mentioning that new media has taken its first steps and with the passing days it would be getting more innovative expanding its audiences and ownership.

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