Social activists and NGOs have voiced their reservations over Cyber Crimes Bill 2015.
Speaking at a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday, representatives from Blue Veins, Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) and Tribal NGOs Consortium (TNC) presented a position paper on the bill. The document was shared with members of the Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication who were also in attendance.
During the conference, a large number of social activists shed light on some of the alarming points in the cybercrime bill.
A majority of them said they lauded the federal government’s efforts to protect freedom of expression and seek public opinion on the bill. However, many of them criticised the bill for containing vague language that might invite “arbitrary and subjective interpretation” and violate the right to privacy.
Program Coordinator for Blue Veins Qamar Naseem said the cybercrime bill, in its current form, contravenes Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Under this provision, members of the UN are expected to guarantee the right to freedom of expression – including the right to receive and impart information. “Since this bill proposes strict punishments, it should not be moved in haste as it will negatively impact internet users, social media and online activism,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2015.