We have taken note of the reports of both the Special Rapporteurs.
- The cyber space provides both opportunities as well as challenges in the domain of human rights. Many loopholes are present in the current global framework for internet governance, therefore it is necessary to have comprehensive discussion to find the right balance between protection of rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and privacy on one hand and legitimate concerns of States regarding terrorism, extremism, hate speech, incitement to violence, harassment and disinformation etc. on the other.
- We believe that ‘rights and responsibilities’ available offline equally apply online and go hand in hand. We cannot have a discussion on rights without properly looking at the responsibilities of all stakeholders.
- An important issue for the consideration of the Special Rapporteurs is “anonymous nature of expression/content online”. Notwithstanding benefits of anonymity, however, the numerous challenges are associated with it. These challenges include inter alia, propagation of hate speech and extremist ideologies, disinformation and harassment of vulnerable groups including women, children and journalists etc.
- Social media and cyber space can help in promoting inclusive development and human rights especially economic, social and cultural rights if used positively and within the parameters allowed by international law and domestic legislation. In Pakistan, our federl and provincial departments/ institutions have been using modern technology to improve service delivery and respond promptly to any complaints of our citizens. We have done necessary legislation in the form of “Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act”, to make the cyber space safer for our citizens especially women and girls. Necessary institutional and judicial oversight mechanisms arrangements are in place for the protection of rights of our citizens online and to provide effective remedies.
6. We share the concerns of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression regarding the use of surveillance technologies by States to carry out unlawful surveillance beyond national borders. In the case of resultant violation of human rights, it is very difficult for the individuals/ States targeted by such surveillance to bring claims against the offending State. We ask the Special Rapporteur on the ways to address the issue of ‘surveillance by States beyond their borders’ and consequent human rights violations.