Events

Pakistani champion for “Global SPEAK!” campaign

OpenMic is raising voice against bullying and trolling in digital spaces.

Being Kind Online: Creating safe digital spaces for youth, free of cyber bullying and online hate speech

  • SPEAK!, a global campaign encourages the non-active citizen to participate in productive discussions with the stake-holders regarding the existing social issues
  • SPEAK! will comprise almost 200 events in 60 countries worldwide
  • Events in Pakistan would include discussions on Digital Literacy, Cyber Law Literacy, Gender Equality, Education, Good Governance and Digital Safe

Karachi, September 24, 2019: Internet and digital spaces, as knowledge as they are, come with their harmful experiences, significantly for youth. Be it cyber-bullying or online hate speech, it leaves deep scars on the mental health and productivity of the young population.

According to a report by, in the past year 2303 digital complaints were of which the recurring age of reporting cyber harassment was between 21-25 years old. 

This is where the Global SPEAK! Campaign comes in action to use the power of dialogue to break down barriers, reverse polarisation, and recognize our shared humanity. Led by World Alliance for Citizen Participation, CIVICUS, the SPEAK! campaign is now in its third year and, in 2019, it culminated in 24 hours of action from 20-21 September with more than 200 events happening in 60 countries with over 10,000 impactees. 

The SPEAK! Champion from Pakistan, OpenMic Pakistan brought together online community leaders, digital rights’ activist, lawyers, media influencers, and young people to pursue a dialogue about youth experiences in the digital space. The program was held at The Nest I/O, Karachi. 

The SPEAK! Dialogue explored the rising trolling and bullying trend in Pakistan and how to create these digital spaces safer for everyone, significantly the youth. Moderated by Asra Rizwan Khan, Founder & Strategic Lead OpenMic Pakistan, the dialogue explored insights from:

  • Shehzad Ghias Shaikh – Comedian & Lawyer
  • Abdullah Nizamani, Lawyer & Author
  • Zeina Torric Azad – Community Admin Soul Bitches & Chief Editor Pax Femina
  • Zaki Hyder Bihan – Impact Evaluation Lead Karachi Citizen Lab. 

OpenMic Pakistan also up with Courting The Law, Pakistan’s first legal news and analysis portal and Insaaf Camp, a social project to increase legal literacy and access to 

Justice in under-served communities. Anoosha Shaigan from Courting The Law joined the session virtually and talked about digital spaces in Karachi. Farhan Shafi from the Insaaf Camp helped put together a digital safety toolkit for all the participants of the SPEAK! Campaign. 

The major point that was raised in the discussions was how the digital independence and freedom to post or say anything on a virtual platform is making people insensitive of the mental aftermaths of these campaigns which are causing numerous mental problems, and at some instances it even reached the point where it caused a physical harm to the victims.

Talking about how a very small thing done for mocking or trolling on social media becomes a threat to person, Shehzad Ghias mentioned how he had to face a severe criticisms for just mocking some posters of Mard March that he had to take a break from social media to get himself back on track, ”Social media is a drug. Social media is a monster and we need to keep a check of it all the time or it will get out of hand”

Abdullah Nizamani shared the idea of how cyber harassment has become a privilege these days and how we have to make it common amongst the people as law is for the people. He also shared all the methods and ways that can be used to launch complains about these issues like Digital Rights Foundation.

Zeina, as an admin of Soul Bitches, shared how she meets women on daily bases who have become drug addicts just because they were harassed or trolled in digital spaces. Instead of teaching women how to dress and how to walk on the roads, we should more importantly teach men to keep their urges to themselves.

Zaki however shared how the opinions youth changes about everything around the world that he came to know travelling across the world and how many times they say things online without realizing how hurtful it becomes and how these things really grows roots in their minds.

To ensure this dialogue translates into an action, the discussion ended with a unanimous stance on one next step and a promise amongst the people and panelists that all of them will be blowing the whistle if they see anything wrong happening to people around them.

The audience pledged to share the word on every possible platform and keep a check of their digital spaces and make sure that their peers act kindly on social media. 

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