Check your facts! 18th Youth Parliament Pakistan® Supported by TikTok Convenes Second Session; debates misinformation / disinformation #TikTokforPeace


January 13, 2024: The 18th batch of the Youth Parliament Pakistan®, in partnership with TikTok, convened its second session in Lahore, marking a pivotal moment in the digital engagement of Pakistan’s youth. This session, held on January 13, 2024, featured around 300 primary members representing all National Assembly constituencies of Pakistan, in addition to Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Overseas Pakistanis, along with approximately 300 alternate members. Supported by TikTok, the 18th YPP is the most extensive and diverse youth representation in Pakistan to date.

Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Founder of YPP, giving a presentation on ‘The Electoral System of Pakistan’ at the second session of 18th Youth Parliament Pakistan® on January 13, 2024 at Lahore

The session began with traditional recitations. President of PILDAT and Founder of Youth Parliament Pakistan® Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob commenced the event with a warm welcome. Acknowledging the partnership with TikTok, Mr. Mehboob extended gratitude, highlighting how this collaboration not only enriches the Youth Parliament Pakistan® experience but also serves as a vital link to connect with the youth through modern digital platforms. Emphasizing the significance of such alliances, he emphasized their role in empowering young leaders, enabling them to actively participate in crucial national and global discussions. The session proceeded with a concise presentation by Mr. Mehboob on the Electoral system of Pakistan. The key points of the presentation included the basic electoral system of Pakistan, emphasizing the gender gap, election processes, the vital role of the ECP, and specifics about the upcoming 2024 elections. He also touched upon the distinctions between appellate and election tribunals, presented an analysis of ECI and ECP functions, and also engaged with MYPs through a question and answer session.

Panelists discussing the Trackling Online Misinformation/Disinformation & Fake News at the Second Session of 18th Youth Parliament Pakistan® on january 13, 2024 at Lahore; From L to R: Mr. Saroop Ijaz, Sr Analyst/Lawyer, Prof. Dr. Savera Shami, School of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab, Ms. Benazir Shah, Senior Journalist, Geo TV

A panel discussion on Tackling Online Misinformation/Disinformation & Fake News was opened by Ms. Amna Kausar, Senior Projects Manager PILDAT & YPP. To discuss this crucial topic, the panel included prominent figures like Ms. Zara Basharat Higgs, Head of Public Policy Programs for South Asia & Pakistan and Mr. Fahad Khan Niazi, Head of Government Relations  and Public Policy, Emerging Markets, TikTok, Prof. Dr. Savera Shami, Chair of Digital Media at School of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab, Mr. Saroop Ijaz, Sr Analyst/Lawyer, Ms. Benazir Shah, Senior Journalist, Geo TV, contributing to the dialogue on promoting a culture of peace and tolerance.

Panelists discussing the Trackling Online Misinformation/Disinformation & Fake News at the Second Session of 18th Youth Parliament Pakistan® on january 13, 2024 at Lahore; From T to B: Mr. Fahad Khan Niazi, Head of Government Relations and Public Policy, Emerging Markets, TikTok & Ms. Zara Basharat Higgs, Head of Public Policy Programs for South Asia and Pakistan, Tiktok

In a thought-provoking Panel discussion, Mr. Fahad Khan Niazi, explained TikTok’s role as an entertainment platform while addressing the growing challenges of misinformation, disinformation, and fake news. Mr. Niazi highlighted the platform’s introduction of community guidelines to help users identify, evaluate, and combat these issues, underscoring its commitment to fostering freedom of expression. He explained the difference between normal community guidelines and election related guidelines elaborating TikTok’s stance against hate speech and political content. Ms Zara Basharat-Higgs highlighted recent projects of TikTok in Pakistan on the subject. Prof. Dr. Savera Shami, emphasized the importance of digital literacy focusing on the need of introduction of different courses on digital security in higher education institutions; she also highlighted the fact that the percentage of unintentional misinformation spread is much greater than the percentage of intentional misinformation. Ms. Benazir Shah, defined misinformation, disinformation and introduced the definition of mal-information; she mentioned the formation of a coalition of media organization and CSOs to fact check the online information before sharing it on public platforms. Mr. Saroop Ijaz discussed censorship and the control of information by the state. He talked about the legal framework in Pakistan regarding misinformation, disinformation and fake news and also how to curb and control it.

Ms. Amna Kausar, Manager YPP & Senior Projects Manager, PILDAT, giving a presentation on ‘How Committees Work?’ at the second session of 18th Youth Parliament Pakistan® on January 13, 2024 at Lahore

Following a briefing session by Ms. Amna Kausar on ‘How Committees Work?’, MYPs successfully formed 8 standing committees and their 30 office bearers / members. MYPs had earlier provided their preferences for the committees which covered subjects such as Foreign Relations, National Security, Health, Science & Technology, Climate Change, Law and Justice etc. Each Committee elected their four office-bearers including Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Secretary and Joint Secretary through voting both In-Person and virtual.

Group photo of members of 18th Youth Parliament Pakistan® and the panelists at the second session held on January 13, 2024 at Lahore

The 18th Youth Parliament Pakistan®, a project of PILDAT, and supported by TikTok, is dedicated to instilling values of civic education, democracy, peace and tolerance among Pakistani youth. The 18th YPP symbolizes a new era of youth engagement and digital partnership, with the second session’s success heralding a promising future for youth-led policy discourse in Pakistan.

Youth Standing Committee Elections taking place on January 13, 2024 at Lahore