Here is why IHC’s ruling to strike down the PECA ordinance is a victory for the #MeToo movement in Pakistan

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal

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Today the Islamabad High Court announced that it will strike down the PECA (Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act) because of how it threatened freedom of expression and the right to information. Social media users have welcomed this ruling as a win in particular for how it grants a safe space for survivors of abuse and harassment who will no longer have to fear consequences by coming out against their abusers.

How is this such a monumental moment for journalists, activists and the survivors of harassment in Pakistan? Digital rights activist and lawyer Nighat Dad explained the details of the ruling in a Twitter thread, where the PECA ordinance has been declared as a threat to the right to privacy and also as a degradation to the Constitution

She further elaborated on how the ruling called for Section 20 of the PECA Act, which directly dealt with cyber crimes and defamation, to be shut down and it was declared as unconstitutional because it has been used to target journalists, activists and survivors of violence or abuse who have spoken out under #metoo

Additionally, Night Dad pointed out that the ruling also demanded an inquiry into the behavior of the officials at the FIA and how it has been weaponized against survivors to intimidate or silence them from bringing their accusations against their abusers forward