Journalists rally to denounce threats to Pakistani newspaper

Pakistani journalists take part in a demonstration to show solidarity with the workers of English-language newspaper Dawn, in Karachi, Pakistan on Thursday. (AP)
Updated 05 December 2019

Journalists rally to denounce threats to Pakistani newspaper

  • Activists criticized this week’s surrounding of English-language newspaper Dawn’s office in Islamabad
  • No detention occurred until now

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani journalists and rights activists have rallied in support of a leading newspaper in Islamabad and elsewhere, days after Islamists gathered at the newspaper, threatening staff and demanding its editor be hanged.
At Thursday’s rally, activists and journalists condemned this week’s besieging of English-language newspaper Dawn’s office in Islamabad.
They criticized the anti-newspaper protesters who want editor Zaffar Abbas and publisher Hameed Haroon hanged for reporting that the London Bridge attacker was of “Pakistani origin.”
The Islamists’ threats at their rally Tuesday outside Dawn’s office were condemned by international media watchdogs and Pakistani journalists who say the protesters blocked the entrance to the building that houses the newspaper and its sister TV channel, Dawn TV.
No arrests have been made so far.


Google CEO calls for regulation of artificial intelligence

Updated 20 January 2020

Google CEO calls for regulation of artificial intelligence

  • Sundar Pichai’s comments come as lawmakers and governments seriously consider putting limits on how artificial intelligence is used
  • Pichai’s comments suggest the company may be hoping to head off a broad-based crackdown by the EU on the technology

LONDON: Google’s chief executive called Monday for a balanced approach to regulating artificial intelligence, telling a European audience that the technology brings benefits but also “negative consequences.”

Sundar Pichai’s comments come as lawmakers and governments seriously consider putting limits on how artificial intelligence is used.

“There is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated. The question is how best to approach this,” Pichai said, according to a transcript of his speech at a Brussel-based think tank.

He noted that there’s an important role for governments to play and that as the European Union and the US start drawing up their own approaches to regulation, “international alignment” of any eventual rules will be critical. He did not provide specific proposals.

Pichai spoke on the same day he was scheduled to meet the EU’s powerful competition regulator, Margrethe Vestager.

Vestager has in previous years hit the Silicon Valley giant with multibillion-dollar fines for allegedly abusing its market dominance to choke off competition. After being reappointed for a second term last autumn with expanded powers over digital technology policies, Vestager has now set her sights on artificial intelligence, and is drawing up rules on its ethical use.

Pichai’s comments suggest the company may be hoping to head off a broad-based crackdown by the EU on the technology. Vestager and the EU have been the among the more aggressive regulators of big tech firms, an approach US authorities have picked up with investigations into the dominance of companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon.

“Sensible regulation must also take a proportionate approach, balancing potential harms with social opportunities,” he said, adding that it could incorporate existing standards like Europe’s tough General Data Protection Regulation rather than starting from scratch.

While it promises big benefits, he raised concerns about potential downsides of artificial intelligence, citing as one example its role in facial recognition technology, which can be used to find missing people but also for “nefarious reasons” which he didn’t specify.

In 2018, Google pledged not to use AI in applications related to weapons, surveillance that violates international norms, or that works in ways that go against human rights.