Jinnah Institute’s roundtable on ‘free expression on the internet and its limits’ | Pakistan Today

Jinnah Institute’s roundtable on ‘free expression on the internet and its limits’

The internet is a unique medium that presents new challenges and questions for Pakistani state and society, especially when dealing with issues like the YouTube video that sparked violent protests across the Muslim world. This was the view of participants at a roundtable on free expression on the internet in Pakistan and its limits, organized jointly by the Jinnah Institute and the Initiative on Internet & Society at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. The session began with a presentation Abid Hussain Imam of the Department of Law and Policy at LUMS on laws and conventions that apply to the internet in Pakistan. Professor Imam highlighted the unique nature of the internet as a medium, and how it is not forced on the consumer of information. Rather, the consumer has to actively seek content on the internet, which raises interesting questions about liability and responsibility. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion on the issue, in which many participants agreed that freedom of speech is not an absolute value and its interpretations vary across societies and cultures. These variations require states and companies to come up with appropriate legal and policy responses to ensure respect for all individuals and communities and protect them against hate speech and incendiary content.



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