Thematic Focus

Thematic Focus

Multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural, and multi-region Pakistan with its current existential challenges necessarily needs the promotion of an inclusive and pluralistic society where the people respect and tolerate each other’s beliefs, promote equal participation in social development, and reduce differences of class, gender, and race for increased equality among all segments. The Institute for Research, Advocacy, and Development, under its thematic program on inclusivity and pluralism, is implementing the following set of activities:

  • Research and advocacy prevailing religious, social, and cultural discriminations, and social conflicts across various regions of Pakistan
  • Dialogues, trainings, and conferences on the rights of smaller groups, gender-based violence, and livelihood issues of marginalized communities
  • Information, communication, and education programs through public interest digital media on promoting inclusivity and pluralism contributing to creating awareness among the public and influencing the policy-making process for an inclusive society

The right of access to information is vital in the promotion of good governance and values in modern society. It allows citizens and civil society to access information from public bodies, enables them to proactively engage in public debates in an informed manner, and holds public officials and representatives accountable. The Institute for Research, Advocacy, and Development looks upon technological advancements in the information and communication sector and their impact on free flow and access to information in improving governance alongside issues pertaining to privacy and data protection. We have undertaken a number of initiatives to improve access to information in Pakistan. Following are some of our key research and advocacy interventions under this thematic area:

  • Reviewing information and communication laws and the impact of information technologies (IT) on access to information, online safety/security, online hate content, and disinformation and propaganda
  • Research and advocacy initiatives relating to online proactive information disclosure, privacy and data protection, digital rights, digital divide, digital constitutionalism, and digital technology in the electoral process
  • Developing digital public information systems to improve governance and promote decentralization and devolution of power at the grass-root levels

Media freedom is interlinked with the promotion of a democratic and informed society. Independent free media empowers citizens to hold governments accountable. However, it necessitates enabling the legal and socio-political environment to effectively play its democratic role. The Institute for Research, Advocacy, and Development has undertaken research on laws, policies, and regulations affecting media freedom in the country and how the current cyber law regime has affected the freedom of expression in the country. We have undertaken the following:

  • Research and advocacy for reforms in the media legal framework of the country
  • Capacity building of journalists on public interest journalism, data and digital journalism, and physical and digital safety
  • Educating women media workers on how to counter on/offline harassment
  • Capacity-building initiatives for human rights defenders and civil rights activists on secure social media practices and safer online civic spaces
  • Legal support to journalists, media workers, and online information practitioners to defend their rights and freedoms in the court of law

The rule of law is an essential element for the development of a just and orderly society where every citizen is treated equally and held accountable under the same law. Rule of law requires an independent judiciary, the right to a fair trial, and the protection of fundamental human rights. Similarly, pro-citizens legislation through transparent and participatory legislative processes is pivotal for an informed citizenry. The Institute for Research, Advocacy, and Development, through its initiatives, is promoting the use of information technologies for participatory and open legislative reforms/processes as well as accountability, equality, and the rule of law in the country. Following are a few key research and advocacy activities being planned and implemented:

  • Research and advocacy to introduce digital technologies for transparent and participatory legislative and policy formulation processes to improve rule of law and access to justice
  • Advocate for enhancing digitalization and online case management systems in the judicial institutions of the country
  • Capacity building of police and judiciary on promoting digital technology in their day-to-day functioning