Posts Tagged ‘Nighat Dad’

International Women’s Day 2020: Dad, a digital warrior in Pakistan

March 9, 2020

With her “Hack the patriarchy” laptop stickers, Nighat Dad is a digital warrior. But this human rights award winner and founder of Pakistan”s first cyber-harassment helpline still tears up as she describes receiving calls from women afraid of being killed by male relatives for using the internet. Nighat Dad established the help line in 2016 with prize money (100,000 euros) from the Dutch human rights award, the Tulip

Much of Pakistani society lives under the patriarchal, outdated code of so-called “honour” that systemises the oppression of women by preventing them from, for example, choosing their own husband or working outside the home. Activists have denounced pervasive, sometimes deadly violence by men — usually male relatives — against women who break those taboos. The situation is dire enough in the offline world.

But Pakistan is only just beginning to grapple with what violent notions of honour mean for women online, in a country where internet penetration is at 22 percent and growing, but digital literacy is low.

Much of the work the helpline does is to explain to women what recourse they have. Social media companies are playing ball, Dad says — some have even agreed to establish “escalation channels” for getting content off the internet quickly when a woman”s life is in immediate danger. But she warns that community guidelines developed by such companies, usually US-based, are not appropriate in Pakistan. “I think they need to do more,” Dad says. More than three years on, the Tulip money has run out. Now the helpline survives only by the grace of small grants from groups such as the Netherlands-based Digital Defenders Partnership, which supports rights activists.

…. She cites last year”s International Women”s Day march in Pakistan, which saw women turn out in unprecedented numbers loudly celebrating divorce and periods, among other things. The response was swift and shocking in its intensity, with Dad describing mullahs making rape and death threats against the march organisers in videos widely distributed online. The 2016 murder of social media star Qandeel Baloch has also impacted her, she says. Baloch divided Pakistan with her videos and selfies, tame by Western standards but provocative in Pakistan. She was strangled by her brother in 2016 in what has been called the country”s most high-profile “honour” killing.

She was a hero for me… she did what she wanted to do, and not every woman can do this in Pakistan,” Dad says.

Dad says she cannot help but see the similarities between herself and Baloch. They are from similar backgrounds, both left abusive marriages, and both have gained fame by loudly challenging social taboos online — though admittedly not in quite the same way. Her murder “shook me badly,” she tells AFP. “It was enough to shake us all.”

……

https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/nighat-dad-pakistans-digital-warrior-battling-the-patriarchy/1755905

https://www.rferl.org/a/pakistani-lawyer-fights-abuse-of-women-who-dare-to-go-online/30469845.html

Pakistani Digital activist Nighat Dad recipient of 2016 Human Rights Tulip

November 6, 2016

The 2016 Human Rights Tulip has been awarded to the Pakistani internet activist Nighat Dad stated the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs today, 6 November 2016.

Human Rights Tulip
Human Rights Tulip Photo: Aad Meijer/Newsroom BZ

The Human Rights Tulip is an annual prize awarded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to human rights defenders who take an innovative approach to promoting human rights. The prize consists of a bronze sculpture (see picture above) and €100,000, which is intended to enable recipients to further develop their work. [for last year’s award: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/2015-human-rights-tulip-awarded-to-ira-mauritania/]

Human rights defenders are modern-day heroes,’ said minister Bert Koenders ‘Despite the many threats she has received, Nighat Dad continues to fight to improve adherence to human rights in Pakistan in a unique and innovative way. Ms Dad is a pioneer who is working to remove everyday obstacles to internet access, especially those that affect women.

Ms Dad is a staunch defender of digital rights and the importance of protecting women and girls and marginalised groups on social media. Mr Koenders hopes that this prize will serve as a gesture of support for the freedom of internet users, especially women. In 2012 Ms Dad founded the Digital Rights Foundation, which supports female internet users in the form of digital security training courses, public awareness campaigns and the newly created Cyber Harassment Helpline. Ms Dad’s approach enables her to reach women throughout Pakistan, including those in more remote areas of the country. She was awarded the Atlantic Council Digital Freedom Award 2016 and was among six ‘next generation leaders’ named by TIME Magazine last year.

Foreign minister Bert Koenders will present her with the prize on Saturday 10 December, Human Rights Day, in The Hague.

For earlier posts on the Tulip award: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/tulip-award/

Source: Nighat Dad recipient of 2016 Human Rights Tulip | News item | Government.nl

http://www.dawn.com/news/1294671/pakistani-digital-rights-activist-nighat-dad-awarded-2016-human-rights-tulip-award