FII was at RightsCon 2016 and founder Japleen Pasricha spoke at three different sessions ranging from sexist humour to online violence against women and media representation of gender-based violence.

1. Hardly a Laughing Matter: Could Sexist Humor Amount to Dangerous Speech?

Wednesday, March 30 2016, 2:30 PM, with Asad Baig, Furhan Hussain, Chinmayi Arun, Susan Benesch, Mallory Knodel, Japleen Pasricha, Mariana Valente organised by Bytes For All, Pakistan

We wish to explore the link between sexist humor online and the concept of “dangerous speech”, as expounded by Susan Benesch, particularly in different contexts around the world. The moderator will start off by having a conversation regarding the emergence of online sexist humor in Pakistan – from restaurant owners defending overtly sexist marketing strategies online and Pakistani Men’s Rights Activists calling themselves “meninists” and berating women unapologetically, to a widespread display of homophobia (and misogyny) by Pakistani celebrities after the same-sex marriage verdict.

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Session 1: Hardly a Laughing Matter: Could Sexist Humor Amount to Dangerous Speech? by Bytes For All

2. Speed Dating for Marginalized Communities in Online Spaces

Thursday, March 31 2016, 12:00 PM, with Japleen Pasricha, Olutosin Adebowale, Haris Azhar, Bertho Makso and Oliver Trejo organised by Freedom House, USA

Do you or someone you love advocate for the rights of women, children, LGBT, the disabled or religious minorities? Interested in learning how these communities operate online, the unique threats they face, obstacles to access, and advocacy strategies? Join Freedom House as we host a “speed dating” event with activists from eight different countries (India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria and Tunisia) at the intersection of these constituencies and online rights. Each activist, representing one or more of these groups, is writing a country assessment report on marginalized communities in online, digital and mobile spaces and will share their work, address questions and network in what promises to be a fun, informative and engaging format. Some are relatively new to the internet governance advocacy space so we invite you to both learn from them and to share your own expertise as well to address threats, obstacles and opportunities in realizing fundamental freedoms online.

Session 2: Speed Dating for Marginalized Communities in Online Spaces by Freedom House
Session 2: Speed Dating for Marginalized Communities in Online Spaces by Freedom House

3. Words Are Powerful: How can mainstream media implement ethical journalism and gender-sensitive reporting

Friday, April 1 2016, 09:00 AM, with Japleen Pasricha organised by Access Now, USA

Words are powerful, and how mainstream media talks, writes, represents and reports on gender and gender-based violence makes a huge impact on how people perceive it. This short presentation shows how Indian as well as international media has misrepresented and misreported gender and gender based violence. A special focus is on social media and platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and how they silence the voices of women and sexual minorities and the rise of Islamophobia in the global North and how media helps in promoting the same. At the end of the presentation, a set of recommendations and best practices are presented on how media can improve reportage on gender and gender¬based violence and implement ethical journalism.

Session 3: Words Are Powerful: How can mainstream media implement ethical journalism and gender-sensitive reporting
Session 3:Words Are Powerful: How can mainstream media implement ethical journalism and gender-sensitive reporting

Below is a blog post by the Access Now team which collects diverse voices and their experiences at RightsCon, including Japleen’s testimony on her experience of attending and speaking at RightsCon 2016.

RightsCon 2016 was an enriching experience! My biggest takeaway was the number of connections I made, especially with people working in the Global South, and discovering how we can explore common synergies together. But what I missed at RightsCon was diversity, and I think this is something RightsCon 2017 should strive for. In particular, I’d like to see the organizers expand support for gender diversity — not just women, but also those who fall under the marginalized spectrum like trans people, gender-fluid, non-binary etc. — and also ensure that people with disabilities have full access to every part of the conference. As for what is ahead, I’m currently involved in a research project on online violence against women in India. After I complete the research, I hope to translate it into workshops on how to combat online violence, and trainings on digital security for students and young professionals in India.

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