The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), in collaboration with the UNDP, held the third of its four conferences in Karachi, on Monday, for a deliberate consultation to curate a code of ethics to prohibit hate speech against women.
The consultation was attended by women parliamentarians, ombudspersons, security agencies, civil society and media. It was also attended by members from the Ministry of Human Rights and Women Chambers of Commerce.
The NCSW is pushing the Election Commission of Pakistan to bring provisions and restrictions to the code of conduct for political parties, media, political workers and bloggers, as well, which may restrict and control the hate speech spewed against women.
The commission also demands implementation of strict and severe consequences in case of violation, i.e. disqualification from contesting elections. Moreover, the code of Eethics will also cover ethical use of online spaces and have necessary measures taken to counter election-related misinformation.
In the opening remarks, Chairperson NCSW Nilofar Bakhtiar said that women of Pakistan have worked very hard to get to the position where they are today, including the fight for the reserved seats of women and against the Hudood Ordinance. “We have and we will continue to make the country a safer place for women,” she said.
Deputy Resident Representative UNDP Pakistan Aliona Niculita, and Chairperson Sindh Commission on the Satus of Women Nuzhat Shirin discussed the importance of creating a concrete set of ethics in order to minimize the obstacles women in the professional sphere face.
Member UN Women Nabila Malick gave a thorough presentation on the introduction of the NCSW, the concept of hate speech, and the importance of creating a code of ethics. The recommendations from the Lahore chapter were presented, voted upon, and added to by the participants.
The chief guest, Justice (reted) Majida Rizvi, former judge of high court and former chairperson of the NCSW, during the closing session, greeted the guests, provided recommendations for the code of ethics with special focus on the legal aspect.
She committed herself to the initiative and stated that she would offer her guidance throughout the process. The NCSW will be heading to the last province Balochistan in the coming week.