KARACHI: Digital rights activist Nighat Dad has been awarded the prestigious Atlantic Council Digital Freedom Award for 2016.
She was presented the award on Friday evening before a crowd of 450 delegates of the Global Forum in Wroclaw, Poland. The awards recognise extraordinary individuals and organisations that defend and advance the cause of freedom.
“It [the award] is a good sign that more and more global organisations are recognising digital civil liberties and the work done, voices raised by activists,” Dad told The Express Tribune via telephone from Wroclaw. “[Global Forum] panels recognised that regulation by governments of online space is increasing and it is significant that there is growing international concern about that.”
Asked about the impact of this award will have back home where she has faced hostility from official quarters, Dad hoped that it will prompt the government to take note of issues she has raised. “Pakistani government should think that these awards mean that digital rights activists are doing something right with regards to civil liberties.”
The awards were set up in Berlin in 2009 on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. She is the second Pakistani to receive the award. In 2013, teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai was honoured with this award. Past winners of the award include US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2016.