Press Releases

Senate Committee on Human Rights rejects PEMRA’s proposed regulation on Web TV

We welcome the Senate Committee On Human Rights’ decision rejecting the proposed regulation on Web TV and OTT TV, while declaring that PEMRA does not have any jurisdiction over internet and digital content under the PEMRA ordinance. The Senate Committee on Human Rights conducted a briefing about PEMRA’s proposed regulations, inviting Digital Rights Foundation and […]

Citizen groups, Journalists’ Body reject PEMRA’s proposed draconian regulation on Web TV and other allied attempts to undermine digital rights and freedom of expression

PUBLIC STATEMENT BY CITIZENS AND STAKEHOLDERS On government attempts to curtail freedom of expression, right to information and digital rights; and appropriation of internet and cyberspace. Islamabad – January 28, 2020 We the public, citizens of Pakistan, the media sector and its practitioners, digital rights advocates, human rights groups, legal fraternity and the broader civil […]

Internet Surveillance

REPORTS of the government installing the Web Monitoring System (WMS) first came to prominence when questions relating to its set-up were raised in the Senate regarding the type of company that has been tasked to supply the technology. The WMS is, on the face of it, being installed by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to monitor, […]

Campaign to Combat Misinformation

Thursday, 21 March 2019 – In the age of social media, the way that information is produced and consumed has changed drastically. Unlike conventional forms of media, the internet creates a situation where anyone can produce and share content online. While this has led to freer forms of expression and communication, it comes at the […]

Data Protection Law

The introduction of a draft law on data protection and privacy by the IT and telecom ministry is a welcome step. In the absence of such a law, Pakistani citizens have had their privacy breached and personal data leaked and used without their consent a number of times by individuals, companies, and the state. It […]

Digital Security Workshops held for students in Islamabad

Wednesday, 5th December 2018 – Last week Bolo Bhi conducted three Digital Security Workshops at Islamabad College of Arts and Sciences (ICAS) for middle and high school students. The workshop shared skills and strategies to secure personal devices and online communications, as well as methods to address specific issues prevalent in the younger demographic such […]

Facebook Security Breach and What You Should Do

Friday, 5th October 2018 – Facebook reported a massive security breach that compromised the accounts of up to 50 million users. Company officials have been unable to determine the scope of the attack, and pressing questions such as what data was taken, by whom, and for what purpose, remain unanswered. It is also unclear whether […]

Bolo Bhi and Digital Rights Foundation call for digital accessibility during General Elections 2018

Bolo Bhi and Digital Rights Foundation fear the blocking of internet and mobile networks in the run up to and during the General Elections 2018 in Pakistan, and call on the caretaker government of Pakistan to ensure mobile and digital accessibility, protection of freedom of speech, and the right to association as citizens exercise their democratic […]

Elections and the Internet

The advent of the internet in our daily lives over the past two decades has been celebrated, especially for advancing democracy and exercising rights. It has become a tool for exercising expression, for connecting with others, and accessing a vast amount of information in very little time. At the same time, we must constantly remind […]

Stirring Up Hatred

The definition of hate speech is contested and controversial, especially in relation to trampling on free speech. What is important is to consider the context of each society’s dynamics, and observe the dangers different types of speech can pose to be able to draw lines between hate speech and free speech. However, in our context, […]

Bolo Bhi mourns the loss of Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s leading human rights activist

Tuesday, 13 February 2018 – Bolo Bhi mourns the demise of one of the most persistent and principled defenders of human rights in Pakistan and the world over, Asma Jahangir, in Lahore as a result of cardiac arrest. Starting her struggle for democracy from her time in school where she successfully petitioned the administration to […]

Bolo Bhi launches study, hosts first Multi-stakeholder Internet Policymaking Dialogue

Tuesday, 21st November 2017 – Bolo Bhi hosted a policy dialogue on Internet Policymaking in Pakistan at the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) in Islamabad. The event featured the launch of Bolo Bhi’s research paper on the Internet Policymaking landscape in Pakistan that was published in collaboration with the Internet Policy Observatory and the […]

Digital Security Workshops held for under training journalists in Islamabad

18th October 2017 – Bolo Bhi conducted 3 digital security workshops at the Mass Communication Department of the School of Social Sciences at NUST this week in Islamabad. The sessions were specifically designed to train future journalists in strategies to improve their digital security, including mobile phones, computers, and online communications. The workshops were attended […]

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 […]

Overcoming the Blue Whale Challenge

25 September 2017 – The Blue Whale Challenge, a dangerous internet ‘game’ reportedly linked to an increase in teenage suicides across the globe, has begun gaining an alarming momentum in South Asia. It has recently starting claiming victims in Pakistan, where five cases of self-harm have been reported to psychologists and doctors in the Khyber […]

Internet access must be restored in FATA

Islamabad, 19 September 2017 – Internet services have been suspended in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan since 12 June 2016 following a dispute at the Torkham border between Afghan and Pakistani forces. Over a year later, the internet ban is still in effect, disrupting communications throughout the area which affects over 5 […]

Digital Security Workshop at WeCreate, Islamabad.

Bolo Bhi conducted a Digital Security Training Workshop at the WeCreate Center in F-11 in Islamabad today, 23rd August, 2017. The workshop was geared towards raising awareness amongst professionals regarding ways in which one can secure their online presence as well as how to improve the security of their devices, including cell phones and laptops. […]

Bolo Bhi Statement on the Recent Internet Disruption in Pakistan

Monday, August 7th 2017 –  Pakistan suffered severe nationwide disruption of internet services this past weekend, due to a fault on the India-Middle East-Western Europe (IMEWE) submarine cable system near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The situation presented a pressing concern to ISPs because the IMEWE carries a significant amount of Pakistani bandwidth. The crisis was exacerbated […]

Tracking HERstory

Who were Fahmida Allahbuksh, Samia Sarwar, or Saima Waheed and why they were significant women in Pakistani history? What happened in Lahore in 1983? Why are women burning dupattas in that historical photograph of WAF members, and what exactly is WAF? Are there no empowering women in Pakistan other than Asma Jahangir or Mukhtar Mai? […]

YouTube launches .pk domain in Pakistan

As of January 12, 2016, a .pk version of YouTube has been launched in Pakistan. This launch was announced on the Google Asia Pacific blog, and is part of a three-country launch: Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. What is the specific nature of the agreement reached between the government of Pakistan and Google/YouTube to enable […]

Bolo Bhi Digital Security Training at Children’s Literature Festival, Islamabad ’15

Bolo Bhi representatives Farieha Aziz and Hija Kamran conducted digital security training sessions with teachers and students at the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) and Teachers’ Literature Festival (TLF) in Islamabad from October 1 to 3, 2015. The sessions were geared to increase awareness of the harm the internet can cause and how to avoid falling […]

Digital Security Training with Bolo Bhi at Children’s Literature Festival

On February 26 and 27, 2015, Bolo Bhi representatives Farieha Aziz and Ghausia Rashid Salam conducted digital security trainings at the Teachers’ Literature Festival (TLF) and the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) in Karachi. Bolo Bhi conducted two separate digital security trainings for teachers and students. The CLF was founded by Baela Raza Jamil and co-founded […]

Bolo Bhi Digital Security Training Session at Teacher’s Literature Festival, Islamabad

Bolo Bhi Digital Security Training Session at Teacher’s Literature Festival, Islamabad from Bolo Bhi on Vimeo.

Digital Security Trainings

Citizens and Industry Refute IT Minister’s Statements & Demand Proper Public Hearing

  PEC Bill/2015:  INDUSTRY AND CIVIL SOCIETY ACTIVISTS STRONGLY REFUTE IT STATE MINISTER’S DELIBERATE DISTORTIONS AND ALLEGATIONS AND DEMAND PUBLIC HEARING 20 May 2015   We, the Joint Action Committee on the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 (PECB) & Alliance For Access, reject and take strong exception to statements made by Minister of State for […]

PECB2015: Consolidated Comments & Request for Public Hearing Submitted

As per the official call for public input on the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 issued by Chairman NA Standing Committee on IT, the Joint Action Committee on May 7, 2015, submitted consolidated comments aggregated by input from citizens, industry and media. This can be viewed here: Request for Public Hearing and Consolidated Comments […]

Bolo Bhi’s Meeting and Our Call-To-Action On Cybercrime Bill

A meeting was held at The Nest I/O in Karachi on April 17th, 2015, facilitated by the Bolo Bhi team, consisting of Director Sana Saleem, Program and Outreach Manager Madiha Latif, Gender & Tech Research Associate Ghausia Rashid Salam, and Research Associate Yelmaz Mujtaba. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the government’s proposed […]

Press Conference: Joint Action Committee on Cyber Crime Bill 2015

A joint press conference was held at the National Press Club in Islamabad on April 15, 2015, addressed by Wahaj us Siraj, Convenor Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK), Farieha Aziz, Director Bolo Bhi, Syed Ahmad, Spokesman Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) and Khwaja Saad Saleem, Vice President ISPAK. The purpose of this press […]

Pakistan’s WordPress Ban: Flip Flop Switch

In the early hours of March 22nd, WordPress was blocked for users within Pakistan. Like with most bans concerning Internet users in Pakistan, reports began emerging as disgruntled users started reporting the issue on social media. Soon enough, multiple national and international news outlets picked up on the reports of the blockade. This comes shortly […]

Digital Security Training with Bolo Bhi at Children’s Literature Festival

On February 26 and 27, 2015, Bolo Bhi representatives Farieha Aziz and Ghausia Rashid Salam conducted digital security trainings at the Teachers’ Literature Festival (TLF) and the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) in Karachi. Bolo Bhi conducted two separate digital security trainings for teachers and students. The CLF was founded by Baela Raza Jamil and co-founded […]

Cybercrime Bill Must Not Be Approved In Its Current Form

For Immediate Release Cybercrime Bill Must Not Be Approved In Its Current Form February 11, 2015: On February 7 and February 9, 2015, Bolo Bhi held consultations with lawyers, activists and technology experts on the proposed cybercrime law i.e. Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2015 in Karachi. Several reservations were raised during the review meetings and there was consensus […]

State of IT Governance in Pakistan? Hear From the Experts

Read full report here

Hearing 2: Bolo Bhi’s Petition Challenging IMCEW

The second hearing of Bolo Bhi’s case challenging the legality of the IMCEW was held before the Islamabad High Court on Thursday, January 15, 2015. Counsel for the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MOITT) urged the court to vacate the stay order until the resolution of the case. However the honourable judge was of […]

Hearing 1: Bolo Bhi’s Petition Challenging IMCEW

On December 12, 2014, Bolo Bhi filed a writ petition in the Islamabad High Court, challenging the legality of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Evaluation of Websites (IMCEW).  [More details in our press release here] The preliminary hearing was held on Monday, December 15, 2014 before Justice Athar Minallah. Bolo Bhi was represented through its legal counsel, […]

Bolo Bhi Files Petition Challenging Legality of IMCEW

Bolo Bhi Files Petition Challenging Legality of IMCEW December 14, 2014: Bolo Bhi has filed a writ petition in the Islamabad High Court challenging the legality of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Evaluation of Websites (IMCEW), with the aim of having it declared unconstitutional.  Constituted through an executive order in 2006, the IMCEW, since then, has […]

Call To Be A Part of Alliance for Access

The Alliance for Access has established itself as a nationwide coalition of 13 leading civil society organizations, two media groups and two industry associations, committed to the promotion of access and digital rights. Access to the web is fundamentally a right to information issue with the executive exercising arbitrary authority to censor and block content […]

Bolo Bhi Gender Media-Watch: Story Maps

The Protection of Pakistan Act

One Step Forward In Curbing NSA’s Mass Surveillance

20/06/2014 Karachi:  Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the Massie-Lofgren Amendment stopping its notorious National Security Agency from conducting warrantless surveillance. NSA recently received a lot of criticism after it’s mass surveillance programme, PRISM, was revealed to the public by Edward Snowden who sought asylum in Russia. With 293 ayes, 123 nays and […]

Twitter Reverses Blocking Decision Amid Criticism

18.06.2014 Karachi: Twitter announced, today, that it is restoring access to content it earlier blocked on request of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), ‘in the absence of additional clarifying information from Pakistani authorities’.  The official announcement states that Twitter re-examined the requests and decided that the reasons provided by authorities were insufficient. It is not about […]

Senator Nasreen Jalil Urges PM to Lift Ban on YouTube

Karachi, 19/05/14: MQM Senator Nasreen Jalil has written to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urging him to lift the ban on YouTube. Ms Jalil first wrote a letter to the PM on April 24, 2014 stating the ban on YouTube was of great concern to citizens of Pakistan. She mentioned the Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights […]

National Assembly Unanimously Passes Resolution to Lift Ban on YouTube

Islamabad 07/05/2014: The National Assembly of Pakistan unanimously passed a resolution, calling upon the ruling Party to lift the ban on YouTube. This resolution was tabled by Member National Assembly Ms Shazia Marri of the PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party). Ms Marri had tabled a resolution to lift the ban on YouTube on April 1, 2014, […]

PTA Says It Does Not Conduct Surveillance

7/05/2014:  The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has responded to Bolo Bhi’s request for information regarding surveillance equipment and list of blocked websites. Responding to the requests, the PTA has distanced itself from surveillance, saying it does not carry out surveillance on the internet. PTA was specifically asked for presence of surveillance equipment in Pakistan. According to […]

Freedom Online Coalition Must Hold Canadian Government Responsible

At Bolo Bhi and Digital Rights Foundation we have had a long-standing commitment to working alongside the Freedom Online Coalition on the principles and commitment to fight restrictions on the internet. We believe that forums like Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) are important in engaging with Governments and following up on our commitment to open and […]

Who is the Control Freak in the Cyberspace

The internet cannot be controlled by any one country, despite the best efforts of several governments. As the Snowden leaks reveal, State efforts to control the cyberspace can quickly turn into massive surveillance programmes that infringe on individual rights; a phenomenon quite familiar to Pakistan. Since 2006, authorities in Pakistan have intermittently blocked social media websites such […]

Dailymotion Must Operate in Pakistan Without Compromising Rights of Internet Users

Karachi 26/04/14: As reported by the Express Tribune, the “Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) [has] announced bringing video-sharing website Dailymotion to Pakistan.” However, we take strong exception to the expressed intent with which it is being launched and the statement made by Dailymotion’s VP Distribution and Business Development, Vincent Martin: “Dailymotion would also make the […]

Senate Human Rights Committee Passes Resolution to Lift Ban on YouTube

For Immediate Release Islamabad 21/04/2014: The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights unanimously passed a resolution to lift the ban on YouTube. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Afrasiab Khattak had earlier tabled a resolution to lift the ban on YouTube but it did not make it to the Senate’s agenda. Today, the committee unanimously passed […]

Child Marriage in Pakistan

10th March 2014: Council of Islamic Ideology opposes laws against child marriage Council of Islamic Ideology rules that the age restriction on child marriage are anti-Islamic because children can get married under the supervision of their guardians, who are responsible for ensuring the rukhsati and consummation of marriage as soon as children approach puberty. CII […]

Facebook Transparency Report: Since When Is Criticism of the State Illegal in Pakistan?

Facebook just published its second transparency report, revealing requests it receives from governments around the world for user data and content removal. The report introduces Facebook’s policy of dealing with government requests as “We respond to valid requests relating to criminal cases. Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency and we […]

Opposition Unites to Lift Ban on YouTube

Islamabad 9/4/2014: Leader of the opposition, Syed Khurshid Shah, Senator Farhatullah Babar, MNA Shazia Marri along with representatives of civil society group “Bolo Bhi” (working on internet rights advocacy) held a press conference to urge for the lifting of the ban on YouTube. This was in reference to Ms. Marri tabling a resolution in the National Assembly to lift the ban on YouTube. […]

Authorities fail to respond to FOI requests, Bolo Bhi Files Complaint With Federal Ombudsman

For Immediate Release  Following democratic norms and exercising the citizens’ right to information granted by Article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, the Bolo Bhi team filed Freedom of Information requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2002. These requests were sent to the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoIT), Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited […]

Tracking Right to Information Requests

09.14 June 11, 2014: Representatives of Bolo Bhi and MOITT attend hearing at Federal Ombudsman’s office Re: Internet Surveillance  On February 12, 2014, Bolo Bhi filed Freedom of Information requests, directed at the Ministry of Information Technology, Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) and Pakistan Telecommunications Corporation Limited (PTCL). The requests were filed under the Freedom of […]

Bolo Bhi Files RTI Request Seeking Disclosure On Filtering Equipment

Bolo Bhi has filed Right to Information (RTI) requests to inquire about surveillance and web filtering equipment reportedly acquired by the Government of Pakistan. The RTI seeks information regarding specific laws under which surveillance & filtering equipment has been acquired. We have asked for information such as purchase orders, cost of equipment, gazette notifications, and […]

State Minister Anusha Rahman’s First Six Months in Office: A Performa

Taking cue from the brilliant team at Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Bolo Bhi team has come up with a scorecard for State Minister for Information Technology & Telecom, Ms Anusha Rahman Khan. The scorecard is based on the performance of key duties by the Minister in her first six months in office.  The collective score […]

Survey: The Human Cost Of Communications Blockade

In the last two years the government of Pakistan has suspended cellular services over a dozen times. In 2012, we began recording every instance of cellular service suspension or each time a notification was issued.   The timeline contains dates with links to media reports detailing reasons provided for the blockade. The timeline demonstrates that […]

Alliance for access condemns attack on express media office

Press freedom organization Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) joins Alliance for Access, a nationwide coalition of  civil society organizations, corporations, media houses, telecommunication companies, academics, and student groups to promote open access in Pakistan,  in condemning the attack on Express News office in Karachi. This is the second attack on the Express media offices in four […]

Blasphemy Charge Over Facebook Comment – A Dangerous Precedent

KARACHI November 19:  According to media reports a young man has been arrested in Toba Tek Singh for allegedly sharing objectionable content on Facebook.  Reports suggest that a complaint has been registered under the blasphemy law, sections 295-A and 298-A of the Pakistan Penal Code. Charges of blasphemy are treated as grave crime and if […]

ISPAK joins Alliance for Access

8/11/2013 Karachi: Bolo Bhi is delighted to announce that the Internet Service Providers Association Of Pakistan (ISPAK) has joined Alliance for Access. After 12 leading civil society organizations and the Express Media Group joined the alliance, ISPAK is the first industry association to have joined the alliance. Alliance for Access is an initiative of Bolo Bhi, a research-backed advocacy group […]

Twelve Leading Civil Society Organizations Join Alliance For Access

07/11/2013 Karachi:  Aurat Foundation, Baanhn Beli, Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives(CPDI), Civic Action Resources, Institute for Research Advocacy & Development (IRADA), Centre For Governance & Public Accountability (CGPA), Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), Freedom Network Peshawar, Individual Land,  Punjab Lok Sujag & Sustainable Educational & Environmental Development Balochistan (SEED)  & SHEHRI are thrilled to announce […]

Cost of the ban

As published by Dawn Magazine Special Report on 20th Oct’2013  Never mind that it is morally wrong. Never mind that it infringes upon people’s constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression. Never mind that it is a Canute-like futile attempt to command the tides to turn back. If there is one reason why the government’s […]

A surveillance state or what?

As published by Dawn Magazine Special Report on 20th Oct’2013  They say they’re lifting the ban on YouTube. The government has apparently come up with a brilliant plan so that just that silly video, The Innocence of Muslims, is blocked, and we can enjoy the rest of the gazillions of videos in peace. What is […]

The big ban theory

As published by Dawn Magazine Special Report on 20th Oct’2013  They say they’re lifting the ban on YouTube. The government has apparently come up with a brilliant plan so that just that silly video, The Innocence of Muslims, is blocked, and we can enjoy the rest of the gazillions of videos in peace. What is […]

Why the youtube ban is bad for you

As published by Dawn Magazine Special Report on 20th Oct’2013  “There was life before YouTube you know” … say those trying to smooth my ruffled feathers when I express frustration at not being able to access it. Quite true … but the same is true of life before cars or television or the light bulb […]

Typed-out and that’s all

Published in The News on Sunday on October 13th – Special Report Ask the people on the streets about the proposed VoIP ban, and the response is rather mixed By Ammar Shahbazi The Sindh government’s proposal to ban instant messaging and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) applications, such as Skype, WhatsApp, Tango and Viber for […]

Surveillance, elsewhere

Republished from The News On Sunday – As Published on th 13th Oct’2013  The world over, there has been a breach of trust between the public and government on issue of online surveillance By Bushra Sultana Ever since the invention of the internet there were idealistic hopes attached to the freedom and anonymity it afforded […]

A block and ban story

Republished from The News On Sunday – As Published on th 13th Oct’2013  One view is that blocking communication channels would do nothing more than what ban on pillion-riding has to curb crime By Shahzada Irfan Ahmed Pakistanis widely share a joke on what their government would have done had 9/11 terrorist attacks taken place […]

Editorial: The News On Sunday Special Report On Internet Censorship

Republished from The News On Sunday – As Published on th 13th Oct’2013  Editorial The Sindh government recently announced to place a ban on instant messaging and Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) clients Skype, Viber and a couple of other communication networks for three months in the province for security reasons. The ban has not been made […]

“This reflects a deeply flawed counter-terrorism policy”

Published in The News on Sunday on October 13th – Special Report Sana Saleem, an award-winning blogger, is an activist working on minority rights and internet freedom, and co-founder of Pakistani Internet advocacy group Bolo Bhi The News on Sunday: What’s your take on the government’s decision to block Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication channels? Is […]

Bolo Bhi Launches TV Show On Internet Policy & ICTs

The team at Bolo Bhi is thrilled to announce the launch of ” The Bolo Bhi Show”. As part of our project “Alliance for Access”,  funded by Open Society Foundation, a nationwide coalition of academics, banks, civil society, entrepreneurs, business groups, Internet service providers & telecom companies have come together to discuss the Right To […]

Letter to the German Embassy

                                                                                                                                                                       Petra Speyrer                Consular and Legal Section German Embassy Islamabad Ramna 5, Diplomatic Enclave, Islamabad, PAKISTAN P.O. Box 1027, Islamabad, PAKISTAN Tel:  (0092-51) 227 9430 – 35 Subject: Letter to The Federal Republic of Germany’s Embassy in Pakistan: Call for Transparency, Accountability & Action Following Reports On FinFisher’s Presence […]

A CEO’s Message to the Minister

Ms. Anusha Rahman Minister of State For Information Technology & Telecom Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, 4th Floor, Evacuee Trust Complex, Aga Khan Road,F-5/1, Islamabad, Pakistan. Phone #: 051-9201990   Esteemed Minister, We do hope you’re receiving our messages and are looking in to resolving the issue at hand. As you’ll see in today’s […]

From a Mother to the Minister

Ms. Anusha Rahman Minister of State For Information Technology & Telecom Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, 4th Floor, Evacuee Trust Complex, Aga Khan Road,F-5/1, Islamabad, Pakistan. Phone #: 051-9201990 Minister Rahman, Here we are again, self appointed liaisons between you and the citizens. Hassan Khalid’s letter asked a question worth thinking about; most of […]

Hassan Khalid’s letter to the Minister

Ms. Anusha Rahman Minister of State For Information Technology & Telecom Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, 4th Floor, Evacuee Trust Complex, Aga Khan Road,F-5/1, Islamabad, Pakistan. Phone #: 051-9201990 Minister Rahman, We hope you’ve had the chance to glimpse over the past letters we’ve sent you; the citizens are touched that you’ve taken the […]

Formulating Pakistan’s Internet Policy

The need for a clear state policy for the internet is greater today more than ever before due to the increased frequency the state has been exercising its self-appointed blanket authority in regards to the internet. Though in an ideal world a state would realise and understand the vast and dynamic nature of the internet […]

Toffee TV’s Letter Regarding YouTube

Ms. Anusha Rahman Minister of State For Information Technology & Telecom Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, 4th Floor, Evacuee Trust Complex, Aga Khan Road,F-5/1 Islamabad, Pakistan. Phone #: 051-9201990 Greetings Minister Rahman, We hope you had the chance to read through Mobeen Ansari’s letter about how useful YouTube is for citizens. It was an […]

Minister, Mobeen Ansari has something to say!

A Beautiful Collage by Mobeen Ansari Ms. Anusha Rahman Minister of State For Information Technology & Telecom Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, 4th Floor, Evacuee Trust Complex, Aga Khan Road,F-5/1, Islamabad, Pakistan. Phone #: 051-9201990 Fax     #: 051-9205233 Greetings Minister, Hope you are doing well and could find the time to read Ismail’s letter. […]

Adopted by the State

Unsurprisingly, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has now been given a say in determining what material can be deemed appropriate and moral. Besides the obvious that the government wants to uphold Islamic principles, (please don’t confuse yourself by believing that Islamic principles preach tolerance, love and humanity), the CII would also like to view […]

You Privacy is Your Right Not A Privilege

How I wish I got a penny for each time I heard the argument “.. but you see we don’t deserve freedom of speech because we are an intolerant lot.. what privacy, when you’ve to protect national security..”. Despite revelations that the United State’s National Security Agency (NSA) has been involved in massive surveillance of […]

Event – Alliance For Access: Making Student Voices Count

NUST SEECS Career Developement Office is pleasued to organize a session on Alliance For Access: Making Student Voices Count Monday, 26th Aug 2013 | NUST SEECS Seminar Hall | 2-3pm To register for the session, please fill the form below. Deadline to Register: Friday, 23rd Aug 2013 (2:30pm) About the Session: The Internet has changed the way […]

Ministry of IT Must Refrain From Trampling On Constitutional Rights

21st August 2013, Karachi: According to media reports (tickers on news channels), Ministry of Information Technology has released a statement stating they have resolved the issue of the YouTube ban by installing filters. Reports indicate that this filter has been provided by PTCL to MoITT “for free, for one year.” The filters, according to the […]

FAQ: Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information Ordinance [FOI] What is the Freedom of Information Ordinance? The Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 was promulgated by Former President General Pervez Musharraf. The Ordinance enables citizens to access public records of Federal Government agencies and departments. What is the current status of the FOI Ordinance? The FOI Ordinance is a statutory […]

Calling All Citizens: [free] Hackathon4Privacy

Hackathon Overview: Freedom of speech and expression are listed as fundamental rights in our constitution, so is the right to privacy, yet we hear about them in closed selective discussions via human rights groups. So lets make it easier for everyone to understand what is your freedom of speech and expression and privacy, why is […]

Call for Participation: Digital Security Workshop in Lahore

Digital Rights Foundation and Bolo Bhi are pleased to announce a day long digital security training being organized in partnership with Shirkat Gah. Journalists, bloggers, writers, human rights defenders and students in Lahore are invited to apply for this workshop. The training sessions will be conducted on Saturday, July 6, 2013. This workshop aims at […]

Stop Censoring: Netsweeper In Pakistan?

20/6/2013:  A recent report by Toronto-based independent research group, Citizen Lab, maintains that Netsweeper filtering products have been installed on Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)’s network. This is an extremely worrying development. Last year, Bolo Bhi wrote to western surveillance technology companies informing them about human rights violations they will be assisting in if they […]

Pakistan: Civil Society Condemns NSA Surveillance & Data Collection

We the undersigned strongly condemn the collection and surveillance of Pakistani citizens’ online communications and activities by the Government of the United States of America under its National Security Agency’s (NSA) Prism Programme. Reports about the programme reveal that the NSA has been involved in large scale surveillance of citizens – both at home and […]

Civil Society Statement to the Human Rights Council on the impact of State Surveillance on Human Rights addressing the PRISM/NSA case

We express strong concern over recent revelations of surveillance of internet and telephone communications of US and non-US nationals by the government of the United States of America and the fact that US authorities makes the results of that surveillance available to other governments such as the United Kingdom. Of equal concern is the indication […]

Call For Participation: Digital Security Workshop In Peshawar

Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) and Bolo Bhi are happy to announce a one day Training of Trainers on Digital Security and Privacy for Women Human Rights Defenders, Activists, journalists and young bloggers of Peshawar with the collaboration of our local partners Aware Girls. This training is supported by OneWorld Digital Security Exchange (ODSE). The main […]

Anusha Rahman Khan appointed Minister of State for Information Technology & Telecom

June 8, 2013: Bolo Bhi congratulates Ms Anusha Rahman Khan on being appointed the Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecom. Ms Rahman was a member of the National Standing Committee on Information and Technology in the previous government. She is a lawyer by profession and a member of the central working committee of […]

Please appoint an adept Federal IT Minister

June 7, 2013: As parliament takes shape and ministries are awarded, we urge the government to be cognizant of the need for a full-time, Federal Minister for Information and Technology (MoIT) and give the office to someone conversant in matters pertaining to this field. The field of information technology is fast-paced and rapidly evolving, with […]

What is FinFisher & what is it doing in Pakistan?

What is FinFisher? FinFisher or FinSpy is a piece of computer spyware designed to allow someone to spy on a computer or mobile phone. How do you get infected? Most commonly, someone tricks you into clicking on a file.  The file is FinSpy, but it is hidden inside another kind of file.  Like a picture. […]

Global Coalition Of NGOs Call To Investigate & Disable FinFisher’s Espionage Equipment in Pakistan

Note: This is a Bolo Bhi & Digital Rights Foundation’s open call for support for national and international human rights organizations against espionage and surveillance in Pakistan. This statement is pursuant to the Citizen Lab report, “For Their Eyes Only: The Commercialization of Digital Spying,” the report describes the results of 1 year of research […]

Our Shame: Military Satire A National Security Issue?

Several netizens, across the country, have reported that music band Beyghairat Brigarde’s latest video has been blocked by Pakistan Telecommunications Authority. While the video remains accessible on certain ISPs, others have blocked it citing the ‘blocked by PTA’ message, that appears if users try and access the video. Beyghairat Brigade rose to fame when they released their first satirical music video depicting some […]

Congratulations Dr Nishter: Please Make 30 days count!

Dear Dr Nishtar, Congratulations on becoming Pakistan’s caretaker minister for science and technology, IT, professional training and education. We welcome you to your new and exciting role. We understand you have an extensive and successful background in health and applaud your efforts to improve the health of Pakistan and bringing health solutions developed here to […]

Bolo Bhi Announces Summer Internship Program in Karachi

About the Bolo Bhi Internship The Bolo Bhi Policy Summer Internship program offers undergraduate and graduate students from any discourse interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests. Who should apply? We’re looking for students who […]

Bolo Bhi joins the Global Network Initiative

Karachi 28/3/2013: Bolo Bhi is thrilled to announce that we have joined the Global Network Initiative (GNI), a multi-stakeholder group of companies, civil society organizations (including human rights and press freedom groups), investors and academics, who have created a collaborative approach to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector. (See GNI’s […]

Need for Solutions to Stop Violence in the Name of Religion

Karachi 12/03/2013:  Bolo Bhi appreciates the resolution passed by the Sindh Assembly over the misuse of the blasphemy law. The resolution condemns the arson and vandalism in Joseph colony; calls for the  Government of Punjab to arrest and punish the culprits and ensure compensation is provided to the Christian community impacted by the attacks. We also […]

Stop Vandalism in the Name of Religion

Karachi 09/03/2013: Bolo Bhi urges immediate action for the protection of citizens. Our rights, lives and property cannot be left at the mercy of an angry mob. The unfortunate incident in Badaami Bagh, Lahore, has resulted in over 40 homes being burnt down. This impacts over 40 families who have now joined numerous other victims of vandalism and […]

Bolo Bhi: Digital Security Training at Aurat Foundation

Bolo Bhi, conducted a Digital Security Training at Aurat Foundation, Karachi. The training is part of Bolo Bhi’s ‘Securing Your Everyday Online & Offline’ pilot project to train Human Rights Workers, Students and Journalists on Basic Digital and Physical Security. The project aims to give free basic digital security trainings, conduct basic risk analysis and […]

Bolo Bhi protests use of ‘Kill Switch’ by the Government

KARACHI: Bolo Bhi strongly protests yet another crackdown on cellular services across Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad as a security measure. In 2012, the authorities suspended cellular services on eight different occasions [See our timeline]. Yesterday’s ban was in reaction to a  peaceful sit-in near Bilawal House, Karachi, by civil society members protesting the target killings of […]

ZTE Non-committal Response To Pakistan’s Netizens Request

Last month we wrote an Open Letter to the netizens of China requesting them to stand in solidarity with netizens in Pakistan. China’s firewall — extensive internet blocking system — has long been considered an ideal model for authorities in Pakistan, with authorities in Pakistan keen on replicating the china model. Chinese spy-tech companies Huawei […]

Letter: Request to abstain from signing at WCIT 12

Request to abstain from signing at WCIT 12 To, The Ministry of Information & Technology, Government of Pakistan. December 14, 2012 Dear Sirs, In light of the recent events that have unfolded at WCIT 12, and the furor over the draft that has been presented, we request the Pakistani delegation to abstain from signing, come […]

Letter: Ministry of IT & ICT R&D Must Respond To Netizen’s Concern Over Internet Censorship

Manager Administration, ICT R& D Fund 6th Floor, HBL Tower, Jinnah Avenue, Blue Area, Islamabad. Ministry of Information Technology, Evacuee Trust Complex, F-5/1, Islamabad Dear Sirs, This is with reference to the request for proposal for national “URL filtering and blocking system” that ICT R&D fund, under the Ministry of Information Technology, announced through newspapers […]

To the Netizens of China, 致中国网民, From Pakistan

To the Netizens of China, 致中国网民, I am writing this letter to you on behalf of many Pakistani Internet users who are currently fighting their government’s attempt to restrict their access to information. The 20 million Internet users in Pakistan are on the brink of being monitored, filtered and possibly silenced for their views, and […]

Government’s flawed counter terrorism policy hurting rights of citizens

KARACHI Nov.16: Bolo bhi strongly protests  governments consistent crackdown on cellular services across Karachi and Quetta as a security measure. In this year alone, the government has suspended cellular services on seven different occasions. This includes Independence Day, Eid and Government sanction day of protest. However, this notification witnessed an  additional ban on motorcycles across the […]

Government spooks to track citizens’ calls

KARACHI Nov. 14: Bolo Bhi expresses grave concern at the installation of international telecommunication traffic filter by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). The filter will allow government agencies to trace every call.   While the Government claims the filter will be used to trace calls as part of counter terrorism measures, there is no clarity over a process that would […]

Surveillance INC: Silencing Twenty Million Pakistanis

Karachi 29/10/2012: Bolo Bhi is dismayed to learn that the Pakistan Government has decided to once again pursue the installation of a National URL Filtering and Blocking System. In February, we wrote letters to western surveillance technology companies requesting them not to bid for the Government’s proposal seeking this technology. We received an overwhelming response – five […]

Stop Censoring: National URL Filtration & Blocking System Should Not Be Implemented

KARACHI Oct. 25:Bolo Bhi expresses its strong reservations at reports of the revival of  Pakistan Government’s plan to install a URL filtering and blocking system. Reports indicate that plans are afoot to have it in place by the end of this year, despite Ministry of Information Technology’s decision to shelve this plan in response to a global campaign earlier […]

Blasphemy Over Text: SSGC’s Unlawful & Unjust Actions Condemned

KARACHI Oct. 15: Bolo Bhi has learnt with dismay that after assaulting and ransacking the home of a non-Muslim Sui Southern Gas Company employee on the pretext of her son forwarding blasphemous text messages, SSGC has served her with a suspension notice. This is an extremely shameful and unlawful move, and we demand that the Company […]

Protect Malala and Her Cause

For Immediate Release   October 10: Bolo Bhi strongly condemns the cowardly attack on 14-year-old girls’ education activist, Malala Yousufzai, and her two school mates, causing serious injuries. The admission by Tehreek-e-Taliban that they had carried out the attack because she spoke for female education and enlightenment – which is against their agenda – highlights the […]

Suspension of Cellular Services Does Not Ensure Security

Karachi 21/9/2012: Bolo Bhi strongly protests Government’s decision to block cellular services in 15 cities across the country as a security measure. Despite announcing a public holiday that includes closure of schools, courts and government offices to allow religious and political parties to condemn the disrespectful video peacefully, the Government, through Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) […]

Access Should Not Be Victim To Hate Speech

For Immediate Release Karachi, September 18, 2012: In response to protests following the release of a movie trailer, Innocence of Muslims, the Prime Minister of Pakistan issued a notification to block access to YouTube until the company agreed to stop hosting the video. The video, seemingly created solely to provocate, has angered many. Globally, the content of […]

Baluchistan: Access Should Not Be A Victim To National Security

For Immediate Release Karachi: We express strong reservations against the Balochistan Government’s blockade of cellphone services in  the province, on Independence Day. Access to communication is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and the State has the responsibility to protect and uphold citizens’ rights across Pakistan. Last year too, authorities had shut […]

Stop Censoring To Protect Those in Power

For Immediate Release   August 11: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) should stop violating the constitution and judicial orders through its acts of indiscriminate and ad hoc blocking of online content. In a recent order issued by the PTA, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been ordered to block ‘scandalous content’ including “sensual conversations between two sitting parliamentarians.” To […]

Blocked, Denied, Censored: 15,756

For Immediate Release   Blocked, Denied, Censored: 15,756 Karachi: As an organization focused on policy making and implementation we urge the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to make public the list of websites it has blocked thus far and discontinue unconstitutional ad hoc blocking of websites. While responding to a suo moto notice by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the […]

PTA’s alleged persistent pursuit of a URL filtration and blocking system is not acceptable

For Immediate Release   PTA’s  apparent persistent pursuit of a URL filtration and blocking system is not acceptable Contact: Sana Saleem – Bolo Bhi Email: Please note that this is an unconfirmed report but from a reliable source, we are following the situation and will be publishing confirmed reports immediately.  Karachi 20th June 2012:  We received information from […]

Google Committed To Internet Freedom In Pakistan

Google Committed To Internet Freedom In Pakistan Contact: Sana Saleem CEO – Bolo Bhi Email: KARACHI June 16:  On Thursday June’14th, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt along with Jared Cohen, Director Google Ideas, hosted a dinner at Serena Hotel, Islamabad, to discuss the use of technology for political, economic and social change in Pakistan. We would like to extend our gratitude […]

E-Crime Bill: Exclusion Of Civil Society Not Acceptable

For Immediate Release   E-Crime Bill:  Exclusion Of Civil Society Not Acceptable  Contact: Sana Saleem CEO – Bolo Bhi Email: KARACHI June 7:  Bolo Bhi, a rights based organization for advocacy, policy and research  expresses grave concerns regarding  the exclusion of Civil Society Groups from discussion on Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2010. We have learnt that a meeting was scheduled by the […]

Internet Censorship in Pakistan: Need for dialogue, framework and transparency

Call to Action FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Farieha Aziz C.O.O. Bolo Bhi Email: Internet Censorship in Pakistan: Need for dialogue, framework and transparency  Press Release On Sunday, May 20, 2012, the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) issued directives to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to instruct all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block Twitter […]