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New Pakistani App Monitors Offensive Content

FILE: Syed Salahuddin (L), leader of the United Jihad Council, speaks with Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the banned Islamic charity Jamat-ud-Dawa, during a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The Pakistani government has launched a mobile application to help people report hate and extremist propaganda.

The app, called Chukas -- Urdu for “alert” -- aims to simplify reporting speeches, events, text, and online content that promotes terrorism, sectarianism, ethnic hatred, and other forms of intolerance and extremism.

Ihsan Ghani, national coordinator for the National Counterterrorism Authority Pakistan (NACTA), says the government needs the public’s help in going after hate speech and extremist propaganda.

He says blocking such material online or going after printers and publishers has only a limited impact.

“We want citizens to be able to report hate speech or extremist propaganda wherever they see it,” he told BBC Urdu Service. “We want people to send us audio, videos, photos, or text so we can mobilize our law enforcement agencies against them.”

The app called Chukas -- Urdu for “alert” aims to help Pakistani citizens to report hate and extremist propaganda.
The app called Chukas -- Urdu for “alert” aims to help Pakistani citizens to report hate and extremist propaganda.

The app is available for Apple iPhones and smartphones running Google’s Android operating system. Users can register with their phone number or accounts on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

With the help of a video, users can quickly learn how to use the app. Users can also keep track of their complaints within the app.

NACTA is tasked with implementing Pakistan’s counterextremism policy as part of the larger National Action Plan adopted after a terrorist attack on a school killed nearly 150 students and teachers in the city of Peshawar in December 2014.

“I believe we need to come up with a strategy that could counter extremists’ narrative,” Ghani told Radio Mashaal in August. “Blocking the Internet is less effective than providing alternative narratives for our youth. We should expose how the militant groups wrongly interpret Islamic teachings.”

Islamabad, however, faces international sanctions and accusations for failing to go after all the extremist groups operating on its soil.

In June, Islamabad will be reinstated on a terror-financing watch list if it fails to take action against militants operating from within its territory.

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