Lahore University of Management Sciences recently launched Research Initiative on Internet and Society. As a part of the Internet and Society, Bolo Bhi was invited to participate at the roundtable discussion on Internet Policy and Law.
The Roundtable was moderated by Dr. Ali Qazilbash, Chair of the Department of Law and Policy, and Dr. Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor LUMS. Around 35 experts took part in the conversation including High Court judges, lawyers, business representatives, academics, scholars, activists and students.
The key focus of the conversation was to highlight and discuss key priorities and issues that should matter when it comes to internet laws and policy in Pakistan. The roundtable is one of the series that LUMS intends to host on Internet Law and Policy in order to further the conversation and facilitate policymaking. The areas that were discussed were Internet Policy and Law in Pakistan categorizing in to four main focus areas of (a) rights, (b) legislation, (c) delivery mechanisms and (d) capacity building.
The presence of High Court judges in attendance paved room for a discussion on needs for lawmakers to be up to date with technology and internet policy and governance issues to be able to comprehend the issues better. It was agreed upon that more engagement with civil society and businesses will help make lawmakers understand the impacts of poorly worded or wrongly applied legislation. It was also noted that the absence of legislation was allowing authorities to covertly censor content.
One of the crucial points in the discussion was the opinion of a few that legislation and laws that apply to our social spaces should be replicated for the cyberspace. While this help in cases such as copyright laws, it can have drastic impact on human rights and fundamental rights online. We are thankful to Lahore University of Management Sciences, Dr. Ali Qizilbash and Dr.Adil Najam for initiating the series of discussion and for inviting us to be a part of the pertinent discussion.