ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari Wednesday termed ‘Protection of Journalists & Media Professionals Bill’ a landmark achievement of present government as it has included inputs from all major journalist bodies and senior journalists.
Speaking at Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) 8th annual National Data Privacy Conference, she said the “right to privacy is a fundamental human right, but the right needs to be balanced with other competing rights.”
She went on to highlight that “privacy is even more important for women, just look at the Noor Muqadam case mainstream media aired footage that caused so much distress for her family. Newer amendments to violence against women laws now ensure privacy of the victim of violence to ensure their dignity.”
The conference brought together experts from various sectors which included the Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, NADRA and other relevant stakeholders.
Earlier, the event started with a keynote address from the Executive Director of DRF Nighat Dad, who said that “the right to privacy is a fundamental right, however what that means in the digital age requires a detailed and nuanced discussion that includes all stakeholders–the state, businesses, civil society, and ordinary citizens.”
Chairman of NADRA Tariq Malik highlighted the importance of a data protection law in Pakistan to ensure standardization of data privacy practices as an important part of the “social contract between citizens and the government”.
He highlighted that Section 28 and 29 of the NADRA Act provide legal safeguards against privacy breaches and NADRA is moving towards anonymization of personal data.
“Drafting the Data Protection Legislation: Progress and Next Step”’ was the second panel of the day, including Bilal Abassi, Director IT of the Ministry of IT and Technology and Jehan Ara, Founder and CEO of Katalyst Labs.
Jahan Ara highlighted that “a strong personal data protection law needs to apply both to the public and private sector because public bodies hold large amounts of data on citizens.”
Abassi said that “the Ministry has been working on the Personal Data Protection Bill since 2017, though the first draft was not as human rights friendly, the current version of the law reflects the international best practices such as the GDPR while taking into account Pakistan’s local context.”