Pakistan: ARTICLE 19 and Daily Times bring censorship home for online readers

Pakistan: ARTICLE 19 and Daily Times bring censorship home for online readers - Media

ARTICLE 19 and Daily Times have joined forces to highlight the impact of censorship and the wall of silence that it constructs.

Online users visiting Daily Times will be given the opportunity to experience censorship first-hand, thanks to an intelligent code developed by Grey for Good that will change their comments in real time as they type them. Before their very eyes, users will see their words censored and edited, bringing home the sense of frustration and impact censorship can have on people’s lives.

“For many people censorship is a daily reality, whether self-censorship because fear of reprisals or prosecution, the banning of books, or the blocking and filtering of online content. Pakistan is not immune to such censorship. The recently approved Electronic Crimes Bill is particularly problematic and provides overly broad powers which could be used to arbitrarily block legitimate content, preventing the free-flow of information”, explained Tahmina Rahman, Director of Bangladesh and South Asia, ARTICLE 19

“We hope that this innovative collaboration will demonstrate the pernicious nature of censorship that so often goes unseen but has untold consequences for society. ARTICLE 19 strives to shine a light on censorship wherever it occurs and to push for the strongest of protections for freedom of expression so that a vibrant society can thrive,” concluded Rahman

Shehryar Taseer, Publisher of Daily Times, commenting on the motivation behind the collaboration, said “we wanted to highlight the importance of being able to express one’s view and not take freedom of speech for granted. I think we all have to take a stance against censorship. How else are we going to move forward towards a more liberal Pakistan, towards a Pakistan that will tolerate differing opinions and a place where people can feel safe and secure when they speak or write about a multitude of topics?”

The project, Free My Voice, is a collaboration between ARTICLE 19, Daily Times, and Grey for Good, and it aims to raise awareness of pressing freedom of expression issues and the fact that thousands of people experience direct censorship on a daily basis.


Notes

  • ARTICLE 19 is an international human rights organisation with nine offices worldwide. ARTICLE 19 recently launched a new and ambitious six-year strategy setting out its vision for a future where everyone has the freedom to speak and the freedom to know.
  • Daily Times is a major English-language newspaper in Pakistan, published simultaneously from Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. Its tagline is “Your right to know: A new voice for Pakistan.”
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