Social Media Challenges and Opportunities for Human Rights: A Case of Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan
The social media has revolutionized communication and politics at different levels around the globe. Many social media platforms have epitomized the exercise of the freedom of expression and opinions without relying on traditional mass media intermediaries. At the same time, it has posed serious challenges for users and raised many questions about free speech and governance of the internet. The countries which already enforced restrictive laws on the freedom of expression have seen new media as a new challenge in controlling the online content. In some countries, sensitivities surrounding religion and the discussion or criticism of religion online have led to increasing internet censorship, hate speech, violence and protests. This study discusses the role of social media in reinforcing or challenging religious extremism and curtailing free speech and promoting hate speech in context of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. It explores the relationship between social media and religious intolerance in Pakistan with a focus recent online blasphemy cases. Through observation of social media platforms used by blasphemy law defenders, it analyses the extremist discourse to highlight their implications. It also looks into the role broadcast media and social media play in dual screening of blasphemy content mobilizing radical elements. Moreover, it discusses how free speech defenders have used the online space for human rights activism especially against blasphemy laws.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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