By Iram Salim
(Pak Destiny) Women have started reaping the benefits of the new cyber crime bill in Pakistan.
On last Friday, an assistant professor at Karachi University’s psychology department was suspended after the university administration received a letter from the Federal Investigation Agency informing them about his arrest for having repeatedly posted indecent, doctored photographs of a female professor on a Facebook page.
The woman in question has been working as a part-time teacher at KU as well as three other universities. Her ordeal goes back to at least two years during which she filed four complaints against the professor. The case was registered under Section 21 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (cyber crime law) which deals with cyber stalking.
The harassment, abuse and trolling that are par for the course on the internet assume an altogether different and vicious dimension — replete with sexual connotations — when directed towards those belonging to the female gender.
Articulate and assertive women are particularly the target of online abuse.
The internet is also a friend to those bent on vengeance against former partners in intimate relationships; such attacks usually, though not exclusively, also target women. The echo chamber that is the online world amplifies the individual’s humiliation: some instances of cyber stalking and harassment have even led to the victim committing suicide. In conservative societies like Pakistan, where women have to tread a fine line between tradition and personal aspirations for educational or career advancement, online attacks that cast aspersions on their character can be even more damaging.
FIA Punjab cyber crime head Shahid Hasan told Pak Destiny that the civil society’s propaganda that new cyber law contains several draconian provisions that limit individual freedoms and impose state hegemony on information has no basis. “In fact it is providing a huge relief to Pakistani women who earlier were being targeted on the Internet but there was no law to nab their abusers in the cyber world. “The new law not only providing women protection but also help curb child pornography on the cyber world,” Mr Hassan said. Pak Destiny