189% Increase in Online Harassment in Pakistan during the Pandemic

Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) published a report as per which cyber harassment complaints in Pakistan have surged manifold during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The report titled “COVID-19 and Cyber Harassment” stated that during March and April when the lockdown was enforced in Pakistan by the government, the cyber harassment complaints surged by 189% against the complaints registered in January and February.

Also read: KP launches a Mobile App and a Website to Register Abuse

Out of the total complaints, 74% were of them were of cyber harassment incidents reported by women. 19% of the complaints were placed by men while 5% by non-binary persons.

During the months of March and April, the complaints registered by women were of sexual harassment, surveillance, unauthorized and non-consensual use and dissemination of personal data, and blackmailing and manipulation using personal information, images, and videos.

The report has suggested that the government streamlines the process of online complaint registration and start legal proceedings against the perpetrators as soon as possible.

The report has recommended that the government uses technology and adopt video-based testimony to make sure that public health and safety during case proceedings amid the COVID-19 pandemic are maintained.

Also, it was suggested that law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judges need to be sensitized to gendered risks that women and gender minorities have to endure online.

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