Comment Moderation Policy

Published February 22, 2019

Our goal

Dawn aims to encourage readers to discuss and debate the content we publish. At the same time, we want to ensure that our platform is an inclusive and safe space where our readers come to seek intelligent commentary and discussion.

The process

All comments submitted to go through a process of moderation and scrutiny before they are approved to appear on the site.

Our comment moderators receive user comments as they are submitted to the website’s platform. Each comment is then read by a moderator and based on our comment policy, a decision is made whether to approve or trash it. This process may take up to a few hours depending on traffic.

A comment becomes visible on the site the moment it is approved for publishing.

Note: Comments submitted to the site may be published in the Dawn newspaper.


In order to maintain intelligent and meaningful debate on our platform, we have developed a set of guidelines that we expect the community to follow when submitting a comment. These guidelines inform our approach to comment moderation on all our sites. Dawn reserves the right to delete comments which violate our community engagement guidelines.

Language that is offensive to or attacks a person, a group of people or a community on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, appearance or disability isn’t permitted.

Example: “X community can hardly be expected to perform this job.”

Personal attacks against authors as well as users are not permitted.

Example: “The writer has clearly been paid off to write this piece.”

Do not post comments that have no relation to the topic of discussion. Some topics can be regarded as broad, but anything off-topic that may derail the discussion will not be approved. This will be done to keep the debate on track so it can remain meaningful.

Comments that can land any party in legal trouble will not be approved. This applies to libellous and defamatory comments, as well as comments that may lead to copyright breach or other applicable Pakistani laws.

Do not post comments that are of a commercial nature, and/or contain advertising material and links. This may also apply to users who frequently post external links around a topic without making an actual contribution to the ongoing discussion.

Comments that include quotations from religious texts will be deleted. The reason for this is that scripture may be misquoted or it may be quoted out of context even if correctly shared.

Comments that appear to be spamming and posting identical comments across multiple posts will be deleted. These comments add nothing to the conversation and only serve to attempt at negatively disrupting it.

Comments that openly support terrorism, sectarianism, indulge in hate speech, incitement to violence, and/or attack a religion will be deleted.


1) “I hope they kill him” 2) “X country should wipe out Y country”

Comments written in all CAPS will be trashed. All caps are generally regarded as a written equivalent to shouting. Please don’t shout.


You sent in a comment but it wasn’t approved:

Your comment may be pending approval. Moderating each comment that appears on the site takes some time. Because we receive a large volume of comments from our readers and each comment is carefully moderated, there can be a delay between the comment being submitted and it being approved to appear on the site.


Your comment violated our policy. There can be a number of reasons for that, from the comment possibly containing personal attacks against our writers and other users to violating libel or copyright laws. Please go over our comments policy again if in doubt.

Enough time has passed (say 24 hours) and your comment was never approved. And you believe it didn’t violate policy:

In that case, reach out to us (contacts here). Your email should contain 1) the link of the story you commented on, 2) the name and email address you entered when you submitted your comment 3) the text of your comment if possible, and 4) why you think it should have been approved. We will investigate your complaint and will get back to you.

Do you edit user comments?

No we do not. Comments are either approved or rejected. We, however, reserve and may exercise the right to fix spelling, grammar and/or punctuation.

Comments were closed on an article.

All comments are reviewed by human moderators. As a result, only a limited number of comments can be moderated per day. However, we do our best and keep the discussion open on each post for 72 hours, starting from the moment it’s published online. This also amounts to the average time debate continues on the topic of the post, following which we move on to newer stories, and as do most of our readers. Only in very exceptional circumstances do we keep comments open on a post after the 72 hours have passed.

I read a comment on your website that I found in violation of your policy. How can I report it?

One way to alert us is by leaving a comment in the same post that contains the offending comment. You can draw our attention with a one-liner, for example, hello moderator please check comment by xyz, xyz being the name used by the one who posted the offending comment, and we will follow up on it.

Another way is to send us a quick email (contacts here) with Reporting comment in the subject line. In that email, please share with us 1) the link of the post in question, and 2) the offending comment. Following this, we will investigate your complaint and get back to you.

Do the comments you approve reflect or represent the views of Dawn Media Group?

Views expressed in comments do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Dawn Media Group, its staff or contributors. Countless times, you’ll come across comments that may not align with Dawn’s positions on certain topics, but the ideas of respectful disagreement and debate mean we accommodate opposing views as long as they do not violate our comments guidelines.

Ultimately, our aim is to host a thriving community that can engage in constructive debate and is open to all viewpoints, while ensuring that all members of the community feel safe and welcome.


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