Bolo Bhi-Shehri Press Release: International Right to Information Day 2017

September 28, 2017: In honour of the 16th Annual International Right to Know Day, Bolo Bhi and Shehri Pakistan have collaborated for the release of an animated video titled “Khoji Ki Ayeeni Atkaylian” (The Constitutional Shenanigans of Khoji). The video aims to raise awareness about right to information legislation in Pakistan by not only educating citizens about their right to information, but also by encouraging them to exercise it.

The International RTI day was first proposed by the Freedom of Information Advocates (FOI) Network in 2002 to symbolize the global movement for promoting the right to information and the principles of transparency and accountability that guide it.

In Pakistan, the Right to Information under Article 19-A was promulgated in the Constitution of Pakistan through the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in 2010,  which stipulates that every citizen has “the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance subject to regulation and reasonable restrictions imposed by law”.

“Khoji Ki Ayeeni Atkaylian” (The Constitutional Shenanigans of Khoji) centers around the quirky Inspector Khoji and his family as they consider making a move from their current neighbourhood, Bayzar Pura, to a better, safer neighborhood, Ronak Pura. The story details how Inspector Khoji, a well-informed, responsible, and incredibly curious citizen, visits various government offices and exercises his right to information.

Additionally, Shehri Pakistan intends to produce a short documentary detailing the process of how particular kinds of information can be gathered by visiting relevant government offices. The particular kinds of information will be based on requests generated by Shehri Pakistan’s followers.

Shehri Pakistan seeks to provide accessible civic education and legal literacy to Pakistani citizens by creating strong visual content in Urdu. The content focuses on foundational subjects related to democratization such as the constitution, fundamental rights, equality of citizens, governance and government structure, how a citizen can interact with the government and its agencies, and a citizen’s responsibilities to the state and to their fellow citizens. Shehri Pakistan seeks to indigenize concepts like rights and citizenship so that citizens can take ownership of their identities as citizens of Pakistan.

Their products like the weekly quiz and Shehri Mukalma create an interactive learning space for their followers, while Shehri Mashwara and Shehri Helpdesk allow for people’s legal concerns to be addressed in comprehensive and accurate manner. Shehri Pakistan’s presence on Facebook ensures that their engaging content reaches individuals who prefer social media over traditional media as a source of information and entertainment.

Bolo Bhi is an advocacy, policy, and research organisation focusing on the right to free speech, information, privacy, and gender rights. Bolo Bhi also conducts flagship digital security workshops, as well as civic education workshops where participants learn about the tools available in a democracy to hold the government accountable. These are based on Bolo Bhi’s right to information campaigns under which information regarding the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Evaluation of Websites (IMCEW) was made public for the first time, and later challenged in the Islamabad High Court after which the government disbanded the IMCEW. Further, Bolo Bhi has been advocating for an end to the internet ban in FATA which has restricted access to information through the internet for more than 5 million citizens of Pakistan resident in FATA.

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