FOCUS AREAS

HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING

INVESTIGATING, REPORTING & BROADCASTING RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN PAKISTAN

Voicepk.net, an initiative of AGHS Legal Aid Cell, is Pakistan’s first digital media platform dedicated to daily human rights coverage.

The platform hosts more than 20 correspondents from across Pakistan and covers different human rights concerns ranging from extra-judicial killings, violence against women and children, persecution of minorities and marginalized communities, enforced disappearances and the restraints on fundamental freedoms including the freedom of speech and expression.

Voicepk.net “Rights Watch bulletin” specifically covered more than 100 incidents of sexual and gender-based crimes across Pakistan including rape, gang rape, honour killings, child marriage, forced conversion, domestic abuse, violence against transpersons, sexual exploitation of women, and acid attacks.

Established in October 2019, Voicepk.net has grown tremendously in scope and output. Exclusive stories investigating by Voicepk reporters have been highlighted in national prime time shows, international media outlets and even discussed in the provincial and federal parliamentary platforms.

Human-Rights-Reporting

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Articles on Minority Issues [2022]

Forced conversion, blasphemy allegations, discrimination, freedom of religious expression
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Articles on SGBV [2022]

Cases, incidents and developments
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Documentary on Blasphemy Accused

An investigative story on persons wrongfully accused under blasphemy laws in Pakistan with interviews of the accused and their families and the impact it had on them. The documentary explores the struggles of blasphemy-accused persons even after they were declared ‘not guilty’ by the court.

Webinar Forced Conversions & Marriages

Christian and Hindu representatives were given the space to apprise lawmakers about the severity and prevalence of the issue. The webinar featured the Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Mehnaz Akbar Aziz who gave verbal assurances that the matter will be addressed in the national assembly and that stakeholders (especially religious minorities) will be invited to launch consultations for relevant legislation.

Criminalizing Enforced Disappearances

Voicepk has routinely monitored the bill’s status by highlighting relevant stories and developments and broadcasting feature pieces and webinars on the issue. Notable coverage included: the “disappearance” of the bill itself from the Senate secretariat and the controversial clause imposing a 5-year jail term for lodging false complaints. After Voicepk’s repeated coverage, Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar accepted that the clause was draconian in nature and can easily be misused, and assured that the government would consider repealing it. On Oct 22, 2022, the government passed a new Bill on Enforced Disappearances, removing the controversial clause.

Justice for Sajida Tasneem the Australian-Pakistani woman murdered

Sajida Tasneem, an Australian-Pakistani woman, was murdered by her in-laws in district Sargodha. Voicepk.net reported the case with input from her family. Australian and US-based papers picked up the story and approached Voicepk.net for further details. The Age, an Australian newspaper, and VICE, a Canadian-American digital platform, reported on the case in collaboration with Voicepk.net. The Australian government took notice of the case and provided consular services to the family of the deceased.

Investigative Report on Extra-Judicial Killings

An in-depth investigative report into the various ways people have died at the hands of the police. The long-form investigative reports highlighted the highhandedness of police and other LEAs. The story collected media reports of police brutality, which concluded that the Punjab police proved to be the most trigger-happy as well as the deadliest in 2020 and 2021. Voicepk.net 2021 publication was chosen by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) for the year’s Best Investigative Stories from Pakistan.

Investigative Report on Suicides in Sindh

An investigation into the prevalence of high suicides among the scheduled castes in Sindh. The story was chosen by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) for the 2022 year’s Best Investigative Stories from Pakistan.

Conference ‘Democratizing South Asia in the Digital Age’

Voicepk.net in collaboration with AGHS Legal Aid Cell and SAHR organised and hosted a youth-based hybrid conference ‘Democratizing South Asia in the Digital Age’. Rights defenders, journalists, students, academicians and local leaders from South Asia participated in person and virtually. The moot provided participants with an opportunity to meet and discuss ways to enhance cross-border partnerships in various fields, particularly in defending the rights of marginalized groups. The conference was widely covered by national media outlets, and also gained traction across South Asia.

Pakpattan Rape Incident

Voicepk.net discovered that a 17-year-old Christian boy was gang-raped and filmed, and travelled to Pakpattan where the incident took place for fact-finding. During our investigative reporting, it was discovered that a gang of blackmailers were running a widespread operation in the area. The story had similar footprints to the Kasur child sex scandal and was immediately picked up by authorities for action.

Campaign Ending Digital Violence Against Women

Voicepk in collaboration with the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) created a documentary and a campaign focusing on abuse, harassment, and violence against women and girls on online platforms and highlights cybercrimes like the recording, sharing, and publishing of deep-fakes and explicit images and videos of women and girls.