Digital Superhighways inSouth Asia

Posted on Feb 20, 2023

Executive Summary

China, under 14th Five-Year Plan (2021–2025), seeks to enhance its technological independence from leading democratic countries, specifically in Information Communication Technology (ICT). Through the Digital Silk Road (DSR), a part of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese companies are increasingly providing the digital infrastructure that is essential to any regime of data governance. While analyzing Chinese investment in the digital transformation of South Asian countries mainly Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the study revealed that the investment has not helped build or support egalitarian internet access, instead helped increase the military and security control over the data and circumscribe the freedom of expression and of information through the narrative.

The increased China-Pak cooperation under DSR indicates increased Chinese...


Posted on Aug 12, 2022

Islamabad, (16 August 2022): Bytes for All (B4A) in collaboration with the International Minority Rights Group (MRG) has launched a report “Expression vs Hate Speech: A case study of Pakistani digital media” that focuses on the prevailing practices of Pakistani digital media vis-à-vis online hate speech against religious minorities. The study concludes that Pakistani digital media lacks in regulating users’ hateful commentary on their platforms, which often results in incitement to violence targeting vulnerable faith-based groups.

The core objective of this report is to stir a debate among digital media practitioners both the digital media and the legacy media on this important issue and to generate increased attention to and steps taken to counter this. Journalism is a profession bound to its ethical code of conduct and global good practices. The ethics also call upon the...

Diversity Impact on Vaccine Equity (DIVE) in Pakistan

Posted on Apr 12, 2022

This is the second bulletin of the research, conducted by Bytes for All (B4A) and Minority Rights Group (MRG), with the aim of tracking and understanding online sharing across diverse ethnic, religious and linguistic communities about Covid-19 vaccine confidence, uptake and access in Pakistan. For this purpose, social media monitoring software packages: Brandwatch and CrowdTangle were used to capture and analyse content shared online about Covid-19 vaccines.

Due to partial penetration of social media use among some poor/remote communities, the social media data is triangulated. For data triangulation, B4A has collected on-the-ground data from different areas of Pakistan, about vaccine access uptake, fears and confidence among religious minority groups, through a network of citizen journalists. Interviews were conducted in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Lahore, Sargodha,...

The International Community Must Support and Protect Palestinian Civil Society

Posted on Nov 1, 2021

Islamabad, (October 29, 2021): As a group of regional and international organizations, we express our full solidarity with Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders as Israel continues to escalate its attacks to shut down critical human rights work and silence opposition to its occupation of Palestinian territory and apartheid over the Palestinian people as a whole. We urge the international community to take all necessary action to support and protect Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders and ensure the continuation of their invaluable work.

On 19 October 2021, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six leading Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations, including Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association , Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq) , Bisan Center for Research and Development , Defense...

Bytes for All launches annual ‘Pakistan’s Internet Landscape 2020’

Posted on Aug 20, 2021

Islamabad, (August 13, 2021): Bytes for All, Pakistan (B4A) has released its regular annual report on “Internet Landscape of Pakistan 2020”, that meticulously maps Pakistan’s internet landscape alongside covering digital trends and their impact on socio-economic developments as well as challenges and threats in the digital age during 2020. The report also looks at the impact of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on people’s digital lives in Pakistan.

This year’s report presents an in-depth analysis of internet access, internet governance, online blasphemy, child pornography, cyber-crime, data protection and privacy, censorship and media, disinformation, fintech and online banking, and e-commerce in Pakistan.

According to the report, in terms of access, the country saw accelerated growth vis-à-vis adoption and its usage, but this was less a result of successful policies, better...

Advolocate Launch

Posted on Jul 19, 2021

Islamabad, July19th, 2021: Bytes For All (B4A), has launched the application ‘Advolocate’ on 19th July, 2021, in an event held in Islamabad. The Chief Guest for the launch event was Honorable Justice Retired Ali Nawaz Chowhan. The event was attended by law experts, from different cities, including Advocate Farid Hussain Kaif, Advocate Shafqat Munir Malik, Advocate Hifza Bukhari, Advocate Junaid Akhtar Chohan and Advocate Raja Shahid Zafar. The application is potentially­­ a breakthrough innovation for marginalized groups like citizen journalists, activists, human rights defenders and women as it will bridge gaps between the civil society and lawyers all across South Asia and enable CSOs and individual citizen activists to receive pro-bono, paid and on-demand legal aid/services to ensure speedy justice in human rights cases/violations.

Justice Retired Ali Nawaz Chowhan...

Press Freedom: A Vehicle for Information as Public Good

Posted on May 3, 2021

On Press Freedom Day 2021, it is unfortunate to note that the media landscape in Pakistan is under siege, with journalists and new media practitioners living in a constant state of fear, self censorship and facing hostile laws compromising the freedom of press in the country.

The world is living through a raging pandemic, causing havoc in people's social, economic and professional lives. Pakistan is equally affected as many other countries, however, disinformation and fake news is rife around the pandemic further undermining socio-economic well-being of the citizens.

Bytes for All believes that a lot more is desired from the state authorities, internet corporations and media houses to curtail disinformation and bring to the people ‘’information as public good’’, which is also the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day.

In Pakistan, while mainstream media...