According to the Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) report, Facebook and WhatsApp are the most frequently used apps to harass women in Pakistan. DRF – a research-based NGO that works on online harassment cases – has released its five years’ worth of data in a report stating that Facebook and WhatsApp are the most used platform to harass women in Pakistan
WhatsApp is the top platform used to harass women in Pakistan
A statement from DRF reads; “A total number of 11,681 cases have been received by the DRF on their cyber harassment helpline in the last five years, while the helpline received 4,441 cases in 2021 with an average of 370 cases per month with a significant rise between March and September.” According to the report, the most commonly reported platform used to harass women in Pakistan was WhatsApp followed by Facebook.
Executive Director of DRF Nighat Dad stated: “The pace at which the cases of cyber harassment are increasing is alarming and must serve as a wake-up call for us to take appropriate action to make the internet a safe and equal space for everyone. Unless all key players take the measures for structural change, we will continue replicating the same discriminatory behaviors against vulnerable groups that we see and experience offline.”
The cyber harassment helpline of DRF was launched on 1st December 2016 and is the region’s first dedicated helpline addressing online violence. The toll-free number (0800-39393) is available, to report any cybercrime or harassment, from Monday to Sunday, 9 am till 5 pm, and also includes support through email and social media.
Punjab reports the highest number of cases
Province-wise, the data of the report reveals that Punjab reported 66% of total complaints followed by 671 cases in Sindh, 282 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 69 from Balochistan, 24 from Kashmir, and 7 from Gilgit-Baltistan. The data from DRF also indicated that 893 complaints received on the helpline were of blackmailing whereas 727 cases on the helpline were of the non-consensual use of images in 2021.