Bullying is used to humiliate, threaten, oppress, torment, and tyrannize someone. It can be defined as a continuous abuse of power or authority against an individual or a group in a given social setting with the intention to causes physical, emotional and/or social harm. If behaviour similar in nature takes place online, it is called cyber bullying.
According to various statistics, cyber bullying is among the most critical issues that have a direct bearing on young people around the globe. According to a study that included 25 countries, it was found that despite not being on top of the ladder Pakistan still has a twenty second highest rate in cyber bullying. However, children in Pakistan do have a basic understanding about cyber-bullying and know what it means and how they might be subject to it. 6 in every 10 children were of the opinion that they knew at least something about cyber bullying.
Cyber-bullying can come in the form of sending text messages, e-mails, using the social media platforms to share someone’s confidential information, by accessing their profiles without their knowledge (hacking), sharing photos or videos of the victims without their consent etc.
Pakistan is in the list of the fastest growing internet-using countries and hence, the need to take measures against cyber-bullying becomes even more important. Yet the existing laws and particularly, the implementation of them is far from what is required. It is also worth mentioning here that as compared to actual physical encounters, Pakistanis are more vulnerable to bullying online.
Violation of cyber-crime laws in Pakistan can result in the following punishments:
- Up to three years imprisonment, Rs1 million fine or both for unauthorized access to critical infrastructure information system or data.
- Up to seven years imprisonment, Rs10 million fine or both for interference with critical infrastructure information system or data with dishonest intention.
- Up to seven years imprisonment, Rs10 million fine or both for glorification of an offence relating to terrorism, any person convicted of a crime relating to terrorism or proscribed individuals or groups. Glorification is explained as “depiction of any form of praise or celebration in a desirable manner”
- Up to six months imprisonment, Rs50 thousand or both for producing, making, generating, adapting, exporting, supplying, offering to supply or importing a device for use in an offence.
- Up to three years imprisonment, Rs5 million fine or both for obtaining, selling, possessing, transmitting or using another person’s identity information without authorization.
It is high time that Pakistani citizens, especially youth, understand that the laws provide them the security to complain to the authorities concerned in case personal identity information is used without authorization. Citizens in such a case are also eligible to request for measures that secure, destroy or prevent transmission of confidential information.
For the majority of the people living in the country to have a basic understanding of the rights that the laws provide is most definitely the first step towards curbing cyber bullying. Therefore, the government should introduce policies and media campaigns that can help in raising awareness on the topic.